Japan Website Design Traditional V International

Japan eCommerce Website Design

Taking your company’s message to Japan involves a lot more than a new domain and a few translated web pages. 

Accurate translations, local font choices and type-setting are important, but the overall design is vital to bring your brand to Japan.

Most sites are packed with dense graphics and text. However, some brands such as Dior and Amazon, choose to keep an international design for their website in Japan.

Note that Japan has some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world so the weight of your website will not have a material impact on its loading time whichever Japanese website design you choose.

Third Largest Ecommerce Market Worldwide

With the third largest ecommerce market worldwide, excellent logistics, and a domestic population with significant purchasing power, Japan is an ideal destination for many international brands looking to expand their sales.

The most popular retail segments online are travel, consumer electronics, furniture, household goods, food, toys, hobbies, DIY, health, fashion, and beauty.

However, Japan is known for its preference of Japanese-made products with high expectations for quality and complex regulations, so foreign businesses in Japan must overcome the challenges faced in which the Japanese language takes precedence.

Ageing Demographic

Japan is country where more than 25% of the population is older than 65. Studies have found that the older display strong brand loyalty and favour repeat purchases. This demographic also has a slow adoption of cash-free payments but has a high personal wealth.

The older generations’ reluctance to shop on mobile phones is given as a reason that mobile commerce accounts for just under a quarter of completed e-commerce sales in Japan.

Websites should be built with an accessible and user-friendly user interface and be compatible with a largely single-language nation.

To cater for the older age group, it is good to consider these factors when designing your website:

  • No navigation further than one level deep.
  • Ake it easy to return to the top of the page.
  • Do not use bland main visuals and top pages.
  • Make it easy to follow a single visual point of interest
  • Use kanji expressions over katakana expressions.
  • Do not use text that is smaller than 16px.
  • Do not put light text on dark backgrounds.
  • Use visuals that move and have sound, such as video.
  • Do not use too much scrolling.
  • Use lists.
  • Do not make it necessary to open new windows.

Luxury Brands E-Commerce in Japan

At just 8.7 percent, Japan’s luxury brand e-commerce penetration lags far behind other eCommerce sector and luxury products are far more dependent on physical retail in Japan

Japanese people especially buy products made in their home country due to the reliability, reputation, customer experience, product quality, and loyalty programs that domestic brands tend to offer.

To succeed in Japan, you need a great product with your brand and marketing is adapted to the Japanese consumer.

Some reasons why shoppers buy from foreign brands in Japan are:

  • Items are not available from domestic brands
  • Products are imported from a country famous for its products which helps to show social status
  • Items are less expensive from foreign manufacturers

Most international sellers begin start with Amazon in Japan with its a familiar look and feel and international functionality.

Rakuten is Japan’s local ecommerce giant and is the second biggest online platform in Japan with 25% of Japan’s total ecommerce market share is the next place to start selling online.

There exist newer domestic ecommerce platforms, but they are relatively harder to enter for foreign businesses without extensive Japanese language support, due to their more demanding registration, language, and localization requirements. For these platforms, you will need to find local partners or vendors who can assist you in setting up your ecommerce activities.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.