6 Bridges to Selling in Amazon Japan with Gary Huang

Michael MicheliniBusiness, Ecommerce, Podcast0 Comments

In this episode, we’re joined by expert Gary Huang. We’ll explore crucial topics like product-market fit, localization, import compliance, logistics, launch strategies, and sales optimization in the Japanese market. Don’t miss the bonus scoop on the “7 Figure Seller Japan Mastermind” event happening in Okinawa on April 8-10, 2024. Tune in for essential insights into conquering the challenges of Amazon Japan!

Topics Covered in this Episode

  • Introduce Gary Huang

  • Bridge 1: Product Market Fit

    Gain a deeper understanding of the market landscape.

  • Bridge 2: Localization aka Japanification

    Localization involves more than just translation.

  • Bridge 3: Import and Compliance

    Japan regulators scrutinize four key categories.

  • Bridge 4: Shipping, Logistics, and 3PLs

    Addressing these are essential to navigate the complexities of product distribution in the Japanese market.

  • Bridge 5: Launch Strategy

    What is the most effective launch strategy?

  • Bridge 6: Optimize Sales and Marketing

    How to maximize visibility and drive successful product promotion in the Japanese market.

  • [BONUS] Bridge 7: 7 Figure Seller Japan Mastermind

    Will be held in in Okinawa this Apr 8-10, 2024

People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Gary’s VIP Page
√ 7 Figure Seller Mastermind: April 8 – 10, 2024 Okinawa, Japan – REGISTER HEREDon’t forget to use the coupon code “GFA” for a special deal and a win-win opportunity!
Yunige Discount – Take advantage of the Yunige discount code for a Japan compliance check at 1,000 yen (approximately $7.50) instead of 3,000 yen. Visit https://service.yunige.info/compliance/checkId and don’t forget to apply the code: 7FSJM.

√ Visit our GFA partner – Mercury – for US banking solutons for your ecommerce businesss

Episode Length 53:08

Thank you Gary for being on the show, and thank you everybody for listening in.

Download Options

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Episode 426 of Global from Asia. I’m here in Taiwan and we’re talking about Japan Bridges. Let us tune in now. Welcome to the Global from Asia podcast, where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice. And now your host, Michael Michel.

Thank you for choosing to listen to or maybe watch. You can check out where I’m [00:00:30] at in the background. If you’re watching Global from Asia, episode 426 talking about Japan Bridges. I’m doing this intro while I’m in Taipei, Taiwan. I kind of enjoy what I just. Take the camera and walk out. I’m gonna go grab some dinner.

I’ll talk to you after, after the show. I’ll just have a little chit chat while I eat. If you wanna hear some insights about, about different things Japan we’ll talk about and other, other opportunities I’ve been studying. So we’ll do that after the interview with Gary. Huang is back. [00:01:00] He’s got the Japan.

Mastermind summit happening in Okinawa this year, in April, and we’re also giving amazing value. I mean, man, this was a jam packed informational podcast, would recommend screen share, but we do it for, for both video and audio where we talk about. These different free trade agreements, different strategies for Japan, for international business, for logistics, I think there’s pirates, some kind of pirates attacks happening and shipping rates increases, and [00:01:30] never a doman moment in international business or cross border trade.

Let’s get into the show with Gary and I’m gonna find a little restaurant. I’m literally just walking around looking for somewhere to eat by myself, and I’ll take the camera with me if you wanna listen to my blah, blah, blah after the interview. But let’s go into the show. Gary Huang talking about the bridges to Japan.

Are you looking for USA banking solutions for your e-commerce business? I am proud to say mercury.com is supporting the podcast here, third year in a row at [00:02:00] Global from Asia. And we’re proud to say, ’cause we use ’em ourselves for many of our own. Amazon brands and e-commerce brands and joint ventures with our US structures.

And they’re super easy to do online application, no fees, and they have great customer support. Have helped us with trouble with Amazon Seller Central over the years about some receipts and statements and everything like that. So we’re so happy to say thank you, mercury, for supporting our show, being a great service and supporting other e-commerce sellers.

We’re really proud to say they’re a sponsor here [00:02:30] and we also have a video tutorial as well as an overview and a special. A link with a little bonus for you as well for us under certain conditions. Check it out at global formia.com/mercury for that information. Thank you for listening and thank you Mercury.

I guess I’ll start it off. So thank you everybody for tuning into our Global Formia podcast. We have our friend and really we’ve been through a lot over the years and always are, are help going through business together. Gary Huang and he’s. Talking about the six [00:03:00] bridges to sell into Amazon Japan. Yeah, I had the pleasure to join in Tokyo last April, and I’m excited for what’s coming this time.

We’ll talk about that towards the end, but there’s lots of news happening. There’s lots of updates. We were doing some research. He was researching this just as we led up to this show. So thanks for being here, Gary. It’s great to have you back. Thanks. Thank you for having me. Mike’s a pleasure to come on and, yeah.

Exactly being a [00:03:30] father as well. So really always enjoy speaking with you, Mike. So happy to, to add some value today. Yeah, I’m sure. I’m excited for this too. Yeah. So should we get into it? Yeah, I think we got a lot to go into. So I’m, I’m, yeah. So I’m sure as e-comm and Amazon Sellers, there’s been a lot on the news recently and one of the, the big news issues that thumb sellers are not [00:04:00] aware of yet is actually in the Sue Canal.

So I don’t know if you’ve seen on the news, but I mean literally the Suez Canal, there’s been like rockets and missiles being fired at container ships. There’s literally pirates there. They’re like aiming their missiles at container ships. I’m not gonna get behind the politics of why that stuff is going on.

I mean, that’s above my pay grade. But as an e-comm seller and as an Amazon seller, [00:04:30] why should you care? The reason is container shipping prices are doubling and tripling. Just in the past month, ever since December, 2023. Oh, no, I, I have this graphic I know most of you guys aren’t watching, but I can kind of visually describe Previously, like in the beginning of December, before like these pirates were started shooting these missiles, they were hovering about when like 1500 a container.

We’re talking from Shanghai Long Beach. Yeah, but [00:05:00] afterwards we’re seeing 2500, 2700, and I looked recently at like some are over 3000, right? So obviously if you’re gonna pay like double, triple the container shipping prices, that’s gonna hit you on your bottom line for your business. So looking at the calendar right now, I mean, I feel like now’s the right time to optimize your supply chain.

What are they doing right? Like, because the missiles are flying in Suez Canal, like [00:05:30] they’re diverting these ships. These ships are typically traveling between Asia, middle East and Asia and Europe. Right. So the Suez Canal, as you can see from this image, it’s kind of like a shortcut like from Europe through past Yemen, Israel to to Europe, right?

I mean from Asia to Europe. But now they have to go the long way. They have to go all the way down south, past the tip of. Africa around the Cape of Good Hope and then back up North. Got it. Europe. So literally they’re adding like, I don’t know, like 5,000 or [00:06:00] 6,000 nautical miles to that journey. They’re extending it by several more weeks.

So that’s more time, that’s more fuel, that’s more money, more cost, right. So this is extending the time it takes to ship. And I know some sellers are not. Shipping into the, because.

Retos Index. I mean, it’s showing about like mid two thousands per container right now. [00:06:30] So that’s why it’s really important that sellers pay attention to this right now. And the other big factor is Chinese New Year. So Chinese New Year, obviously. This is expected. This happens every year at the end of January and February.

The Chinese have their longest holiday of the year, right? So factories, if you’re sourcing from a Chinese factory, if you’re using a sourcing agent or an inspection agency, or logistics. Everybody’s gonna be out for at least two weeks up to a month, right? [00:07:00] Yeah. So during this time, it makes sense for smart sellers to kind of look at their supply chain, look at their sourcing, see if there’s ways that you can optimize that you can shape some costs.

Because obviously the economy is kind of flat right now. There’s more competition costs are going up. So I wanted to watch you guys through ways. Smart sellers too. Yeah, I, I’m learning myself. I, I wasn’t aware, I actually just sent a WeChat to my logistics company group [00:07:30] asking about this. So literally, yeah, they did bump send them a screenshot.

Yeah, they did. I, I, I did, I did. And I did. I said, but they did bump it up a little bit January one, but they didn’t, it wasn’t honestly that. Like big of a deal for the container? Not yet. I, I hope they can, they can lock it in. Maybe they negotiated something, but across the board, like supply chain professionals, I’m in a lot of like private chat groups.

Everybody’s talking about this in the supply chain [00:08:00] world right now. This is kind of like, like a black swan type thing right now. So basically I’m, I wanted to raise one solution for e-commerce sellers, because if you look at the map. If you look at China shipping to the us, it’s very far, right? It takes like 30 days to 45 days.

Mm-hmm. For a shipment to arrive from, let’s say, Shanghai to Long Beach. And we’re talking about not just the time on the boat, but going through the, the port, getting the booking, like Deboarding, et cetera, right? 30 [00:08:30] to 45 days. But if you consider. Selling closer to the source. Like let’s say Japan, for example.

Japan is actually China’s neighbor. And then if you look at the map, I mean literally it only takes seven to 10 days, like for the goods to arrive from China into Japan. So if you look at like just. Like the time savings, right? We’re talking about 45 days down to 10 days, right? I mean, in terms of selling, that means that you can really cut the, the, the time and [00:09:00] you can cut the expense.

And I remember last year I was speaking to an eight figure seller, Brandon Young, about this, showing him this information, and it was like he’s doing like. Millions million in the US and like a light bulb just went in his head. He was like, this a no. You turn your inventory a lot faster. You don’t have to place inventory.

Hold right orders because you can feed. The Amazon fulfillment centers in Japan a lot faster than you can [00:09:30] feed the ones in the us. So it just has like a compound effect on your business. It can free up your cash flow, it can reduce your, your shipping costs, expenses, so we’ll. We’ll also talk about like free trade agreements that Japan has with other countries.

So I, I feel that a lot of people are kind of sleeping on this, on Japan and Japan. China literally mean you save like so much, so much money considering opening up this market. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I was just joking. Yeah, go ahead. Hopefully no pirates [00:10:00] come between there, those two places. It’s a bad joke maybe.

Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s a lot of other political risks as well. Yeah, there is. Um, in China and Japan, I forgot about that island. There was an island, right? I don’t like, maybe we put that Yeah, yeah. Like yeah. The islands and Yeah, but that’s like a whole nother story. I mean, knock on wood.

So I, I wanted to also just quickly highlight, because a lot of [00:10:30] people, should we talk a little bit about why sellers should consider Japan? Of course. Yeah. I think it’s always a good reminder if those that aren’t familiar, but for those that first time. Yeah, I mean if you haven’t considered Japan, just some quick facts.

Japan’s the fourth biggest Amazon marketplace in the world, and Japan has the third largest GDP in the world. They have 126 million people, which is double the population of uk. And I think one cool thing for Amazon sellers is Amazon Japan is the number one e-commerce site in Japan. [00:11:00] And like literally like here, I’m sitting in Tokyo, Amazon has same day delivery, prime next day prime.

Just like in the US and other countries and it’s, it’s a lot. It’s a huge market that most people are not considering. And then on the other, on the selling side, if you’re wondering like, is Japan super saturated like the us? Actually Japan ranks number eight in terms of the competition level, in terms of the number of sellers.

So the market size is number four, biggest Amazon [00:11:30] market in the world. But the competition is. So, I mean, that’s pretty simple math, right? I mean, that’s like a blue ocean opportunity, right? You have a big market, you don’t have as much competition. The competition is a lot less sophisticated as well. So like people say the riches are in the niches, right?

Yeah. I think Japan is the niche, right? It’s only right. Number eight. There’s more people selling in Spain, France. Canada, these smaller countries than, [00:12:00] than in Japan. So I think it makes a lot of sense to, to consider this. And I, I pulled our audience not too long ago, 230 sellers responded. I asked them, which marketplaces, which Amazon marketplaces are you guys selling in?

So outta the two thirty, a hundred seventy three or 75%. Selling US UK is 30%, Germany is 15%. Japan is only 5%. There were only 13 people out of 230, so I think [00:12:30] literally nobody is selling in Japan. So that’s why I wanted to bring this opportunity for you guys. And one other thing, I know a lot of people are feeling the pain higher rising PPC costs, like overall in Japan PPC costs are lower than in the us.

I mean, PC costs are growing, but they’re still lower in the US I mean, we’re seeing CPCs as low as 29 cents per click. So we feel like it’s kind of ridiculous that. So many people, [00:13:00] people are just like sleeping on Japan. They’re not even considering it. So I wanted to, to share some insight for you guys and given the, the whole shipping fiasco.

And we’ll also talk about some trade war, I mean trade agreements as well. Yeah, the bridges. Yeah. Yeah, the bridges. Okay. So I know a lot of people for Japan, if you’ve thought about it. There’s like a lot of challenges, right? People are worried about the language barrier, but there’s ways that you can overcome that.

In fact, we [00:13:30] found out there’s ways you can do keyword research in Japan, even if you don’t speak any Japanese. And one of the bridges is, is that exactly we’re talking about localization. I’ll share more ways that you guys can learn how to do that. There’s also people that are worried about steps to set up my seller central.

One of the the big things I, I sell in Amazon, Japan. I know a little bit of Japanese. I am by no means fluent. My, my son, he’s in pre-kindergarten, he’s five. I think his Japanese level is gonna very quickly surpass mine, [00:14:00] but I can still sell in Amazon Japan. Why? Because one big reason is. Seller Central Amazon Japan is all in English.

So if you’re already familiar with US Seller Central, it’s the same thing in Japan. Okay? So that, that’s one big thing in our favor. And also, FBA works the same way. So you can send all of your, your products to the, the Japan Fulfillment Centers and they’ll fulfill them for you. PPC, all the same ad campaigns.

Most of them are all here in Japan. I mean, some [00:14:30] of the newer ones may not exist yet, but I mean the, the strategies are there. And another big hurdle is a lot of people questions about importing regulations. And we’ll cover that as one of the bridges to cross as well. So, yeah, that, that’s why I wanted to share with you guys today.

These are some of the biggest challenges that will help you. And for those of you. Meeting me the first time. I am quick, should I give a quick intro [00:15:00] about myself? Of course. Man. I like the picture. I’ve seen this. I, I like this profile photo. It’s one of my favorites for you. Yeah. So, yeah, this, this photo was taken back when I lived in Shanghai.

I am. Okay. I’m originally from the us I was born and raised in la. I went to USCI like to say my background is the intersection of supply chain and e-commerce. So the, the first product I sold online was back in 2005. It was on eBay. My first private label brand were women’s shoes that I [00:15:30] bought from a Chinese importer in Los Angeles.

Started. And in 2008, I I, I majored in Chinese.

I only spoke Chinese at home. I was kind of fascinated with Shanghai back then. It was like the boom days. It was like New York City super cosmopolitan. I really wanted to make a shift. So I moved out to Shanghai in 2008 and I found a job in sourcing and supply chain. So that [00:16:00] was the second chapter with sourcing.

And then over time, I. Visited hundreds of Chinese factories. I represented my, my foreign clients, helped them source many, many different products from solar water heaters to exercise bikes, to auto parts, I mean, umbrellas, you name it. So nice. Really learned like the tricks of the trade, the dirty tricks and everything.

And so my goal right now is to help sellers. Succeed and physically being in Japan, I see the [00:16:30] opportunity that most people aren’t aware of. So I really wanna kind of bring light to this opportunity to you guys. Alright, so let’s get into the six bridges to Amazon Japan. I’m ready. Mike, jump in anytime.

Yeah, sure. Anytime. Any questions, let me know. Just, just jump cut me off anytime you see. Okay. There’s something that, that you that resonates. Okay. The first bridge, I think this is key to get started in Japan. You have.

  1. [00:17:00] You are an Amazon seller already selling, let, let’s say, an amazon.com US or Amazon UK or Germany, and you see there’s an opportunity in Japan, but you’re not sure the million dollar question is, is my product gonna sell in Japan? Okay. So I can share a couple tools and couple ways that we can kind of de-risk that decision before you pull the trigger.

Okay, so the first tool I recommend is Amazon’s product Opportunity Explorer. So I’m [00:17:30] sure a lot of you guys are familiar with this. Mike, I think you’re familiar with this as well. This is, yeah, this is Amazon’s internal like keyword research tool. So the beauty of this tool is that. First, it can give you a size of your market based on your keywords in Japanese.

Okay? And number two is, this is 100% from the source. Okay? So the data is directly from Amazon. It’s a hundred percent accurate. There’s other tools out there that there’s some [00:18:00] degree of accuracy and and error, but this is direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. So that’s why product opportunity is one of the keys to gauge.

Okay. I know you’re probably thinking, what if I don’t speak Japanese? I mean, there’s, there’s ways that you can understand the language using tools like AI using apps like Google Sheets, and we talked about that in another webinar and maybe we can link that up below. We have like, yeah, like a one [00:18:30] hour training that we did together with Helium 10 and with Java.

Sure. With, she’s a Japan localization expert. If. PT translation skills are like if you, if you compare with Google Translate, Google Translate is maybe 50, 60% that GPT can get it up to like maybe 90, 95%. Like I’ve done like tests, like customer service emails, even writing letters to Amazon customer support in Japanese.[00:19:00]

And then I, I showed it to a local Japanese person and they were surprised. Like it was like the formality, the grammar. It was written very naturally. So definitely check that out and use chat GT four, like the paid version that that’s better than 3.5. Okay, so just a quick tip. Okay. That’s in terms of doing keyword research, search volume, competitor analysis, the three top tools all support Amazon Japan, so Jungle Scout, PBM 10, as well as DataDive.

They all [00:19:30] support Japan, so you can do that keyword research. I also would recommend that you guys just play around with Amazon Japan’s website. So go to Amazon, jp. Okay. And once you go on, like the whole screen is Japanese, but. There’s an option, you can actually change the language to English. So this is what I do.

So you can search in English for your product and then you can get an idea of the competition level, what they’re selling for the number of reviews. And you might be surprised because [00:20:00] most of your competitors guarantee are not gonna be there, right? So this is still like the niche is Japan. So even like if you are selling like yoga mats, like you don’t really have to niche down mat.

Like, I don’t know, pregnant moms, et cetera. You can just do like, maybe you can even just go into yoga.

The next tool. The fourth tool that I like to recommend is something that it’s a nifty [00:20:30] little tool called YouTube. Okay? Some of you guys may have heard of it. YouTube is actually a great way. If you can’t physically go to Japan, you can get a glimpse how Japanese people use a product. So for example, if you’re selling a kitchen product, what you can do is you can go on YouTube and just type in.

Japanese kitchen tour or Japanese kitchen walkthrough, and you’ll get a whole bunch of real videos of people shooting their Japanese kitchens. So you can see like, like [00:21:00] you can literally see how small the kitchens are. And Mike, you, I, I know some of you guys are on the podcast, you can’t see, but Mike like.

They’re walking through a Japanese kitchen. Do you, what strikes your eye first? You know, in this picture, I’m just curious. I be honest. The first thing is she is really taller that that oven vent is low. I mean, I guess her head is, head is on the left, like, but yeah, it definitely looks [00:21:30] small. Everything’s hanging on the wall.

Like everything, there’s no, yeah, there’s no table space, counter space. Right, right. Everything is, is vertical. I mean, you have like the knife, the knife, like magnetic knife holder against the wall. You have like shelves and you see pots hanging vertically. And another big thing that I, I noticed that’s different is like, do you see an oven there?

Yeah. No oven. Yeah, there’s no oven. There’s like a little fish grill underneath like [00:22:00] the, the burner, but there’s no oven. Right. And then there’s also no dishwasher as well. So if you sell like anything that’s like oven, like those big like oven, like mitts or the mitts, the oven, that’s not gonna work. Right?

And like, and if you were to look outside, if you’re selling like grill gloves or stuff like that. You know, and that’s not gonna work at all, because like, they don’t have barbecues outside. So, I mean, I, I think you guys understand, like, this is kind of like a sanity check just to [00:22:30] see how a Japanese kitchen would look like.

And you can also search for your, your keyword, right? So to see if Japanese people are using your product or not. If they are, there’s probably some YouTube videos that you on right side here. Most. This is like, there’s a, a picture of a lady holding a little plastic device, putting it into a box of rice like Mike, do you what that is?

I don’t know what it is, but I have a guess. But. [00:23:00] But I don’t know, what do you think it is? Takes, takes the water outta the rice, like keeps it dry Storage that, yeah. I like a dehydrator. Yeah, that’s a good guess. Almost. This thing actually keeps bugs from growing in your rice. Oh, like your, your dry rice.

Yeah. Because rice is huge. Like every single household in Japan has a rice cooker, ourselves included. Right. So that’s like one of the, the niche. Find on YouTube. Okay, so [00:23:30] I also, for product market fit, wanted to share like an example of something that doesn’t work. Let’s take a look at this. Okay? One example that would not work are taco holders, right?

Like food taco holders. So this would not work in Japan because I love tacos too. But unfortunately Japanese people aren’t that into tacos, right? I mean, maybe a sushi holder, but not taco holders. You don’t really see a market for that, right? So, um, no, Mexican definitely do. [00:24:00] Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty rare you don’t see people making tacos at home.

So anyways, that these are some examples of ways that you can do product market fit analysis for Japan. Okay. Should we go to the next bridge? Yeah, let’s, let’s keep on rolling, man. This is great. Okay, so the second bridge. Help seller enter Japan is localization and I, it’s also known as Japan ification.

Okay, so localization, it goes beyond just translating. So [00:24:30] you have to make sure your listings are tailored to the Japanese marketplace and also the culture. So everything be not just the translation, but from the, the images to the product description, even to, so in this example that we. Brand. Maybelline New York.

So they’re a US cosmetics brand, but you can see on their Amazon storefront that. Listing, they’re using Asian models. They’re using like different types of makeup, like coloring and [00:25:00] then also and everything. It’s Japanese, like I’m not obviously a expert, but my wife tells me like. Cosmetic brands like are developed for different skin types.

So that’s just an example how Maybelline and these brands, they localized to the market and also with the keywords as well. Okay, so the big takeaway that I want to share with you guys is first for localizations, get your translations done by a professional. Okay. And [00:25:30] ideally not just any random Japanese translator, but someone that has some Amazon SEO experience and translation experience.

So this way they know the style, like the copywriting for Amazon, and this way they can write your listings effectively and also you can feed them the, the right keywords that you wanna for. Okay. Awesome. Um, I example of, so Mike. I’ll play, I’ll play. I’m linking [00:26:00] the picture so far. Okay, so, okay, so pop quiz.

What is everyone’s favorite Christmas dinner restaurant in Japan? Take a guess. I think. I gotta guess ’cause of the picture, but, okay, but, but yeah. Chicken. Fried chicken. Yeah. KFC. That’s crazy. Yeah. I didn’t know that. Actually the answer is kfc. Kentucky Fried Chicken kfc. Really? The reason is because, yeah, [00:26:30] they, during I believe the sixties, there was Japanese local Japanese manager at kfc and there was like an office party that they were catering for for Christmas.

So the guy wanted to make it like an American thing. So he dressed up as Santa Claus and he brought like buckets of buckets of fried chicken. And then the Japanese people loved that. They’re like, oh, this is so cool. This is like, they thought this was like an American thing, right? Because you, you see in the movies like Christmas and Yeah, everyone’s having like their [00:27:00] Turkey.

Yeah, Santa Turkey and roast roast beef and stuff. But remember back in the kitchen, there’s no. Wow. There’s no way like a Japanese family could roast like a Turkey. So they’re like, okay, KF, C, that’s American, right? And chicken close enough. So you would never believe it. I, I just found this out last year.

Huh? For Christmas. KFC, they actually take bookings in KFCs and they’re fully booked like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Right. Japanese family, they wanna celebrate Christmas [00:27:30] at kfc. So this is an example, like this is an extreme example of Japan ation, like how uh, a US brand localized their product.

Yeah. Like I to the culture, you know? Yeah, I mean that’s pretty genius, but it just shows that the market, they’re open to these types of products and some people are asking, should I translate my US brand? I would say a lot of Japanese people, especially the young people, they like foreign culture, they like Western culture, like US brands.

Just keep it in English. It is [00:28:00] cool. I mean, you can translate it into like the local like Ka. That there’s like, there’s like a couple different language script, but you can keep the English, because the English looks cool and oftentimes you can keep the English packaging as well, but make sure you have the Japanese instructions for people to use it because it’s, it kind of enhances like the foreign, like the cool factor as well.

Got it. Okay. Yeah, so these are, these are some examples of ification and how, so Gary and family is going to KFC on Christmas, this. [00:28:30] My wife wanted to go to kfc. Really? She wanted, she loves, yeah. Yeah. She loves like the hot and spicy, like they have really good, they have local like KFC flavors too. Site, yeah.

Christmas, kfc. I might do it. Even I’m not there now. Sounds fun. Yeah. Yeah, man. Yeah. Okay, so let, let’s keep going. So bridge number three. This is one of the. The critical ones. This is about import and compliance. So I know a lot of people like their biggest question is what sort of compliance regulations, what kind of like [00:29:00] licenses I have to get?

I’m not a compliance expert, but I can give you a high level overview. The Japanese import customs, they closely scrutinize four key categories. Okay? So if you’re.

Cosmetics, medical devices and plastic products that touches food or drink. Okay. So basically anything that goes on the body or goes in the body, even [00:29:30] if it’s like, like like a water, water bottle. Right. Okay. So these are key categories you need to pay special attention to. Also, if you’re wondering about the cost of this, the cost depends on the size and the complexity of the product.

And you may need to test separate parts of the product, which can be more expensive. So the more complex, the more moving parts, the more expensive it’s Okay. Is that per product or like, can you do that across? Actually, I mean, even for me, I, I, I call, [00:30:00] I my, my categories. Touching, touching product that people eat or drink.

Mm-Hmm. So I, if we have like a range, if it’s like, can you kind of get a blanket or you gotta do per, maybe you don’t know. I would talk to import compliance specialists. Someone like a uni game. Yeah, they would. I mean, they can literally do a, like an evaluation for you for. [00:30:30] Like, so for the price of going to Starbucks, you can find out exactly what you need.

Really? Wow. I didn’t, so I think that, okay. I’ll take it off. Yeah, I, I know I met them at your event, so they’re awesome. They’re definitely awesome. They’re, I didn’t know what that cheap, they know their stuff. Yeah, they’re, they’re doing a special. Promotion for the seven figure seller community. Okay. And Mike, you’re part of it?

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you need, yeah, definitely check them out and maybe we can link them up below in the show notes if anyone’s interested. Sure. But [00:31:00] yeah, I mean literally like $8 through doing a special offer for the initial compliance. Like they’ll give you an idea of what you need. Great. Alright. Okay, so let’s move on to bridge number four.

So shipping, logistics, and three pl. So we talked about this a little earlier. Okay. So it’s gonna be a lot faster because you’re close to the source and also, okay. I wanted to talk also about, that’s what I’m looking for. Yeah. Yeah. So [00:31:30] there, Japan also has many trade agreements with a number of countries.

And these countries include India, Vietnam, Thailand. As well. I mean, literally I found like a list of over a dozen different countries that Japan free. Free trade. It, it’s kind of like walking in the airport and there’s like the duty free store, right? So if you’re, rather than buying [00:32:00] like your, your whiskey or like your liquor or your cosmetics at like a department store, right?

You can go to the duty free shop and you can probably save like 10%. The same thing applies if you are selling in Japan and you source.

Not only save on the the China US tariffs, so that’s gonna be immediate, 25% cost saving because there’s no trade war going on with Japan. Okay? And number two [00:32:30] is you can eliminate a lot of the duties because in the US there’s different duties based on different HS codes and product categories in Japan, because of these free trade agreements with India, Vietnam, and Thailand.

And you’re able to drop that even lower possibly to zero. But what does that mean for sellers? That means for your product costs, you can lower the landed costs. Like if you get rid of the tariff, that 25%, if there’s another 17% duty, 40%, and then there could be other duties on top of that as well. [00:33:00] Right?

So combine that with the, the close proximity that Japan is that.

Just with the reduced cost, that means more margin. So you can either maintain your price or take more margin or you can price more aggressively. And so literally you don’t have to like stay on that, that slow boat from China to us, you know, to Europe, right? You can really speed things up, sourcing [00:33:30] locally as well as taking advantage of these.

That’s great. Yeah. So Mike, I know that you are, you are working with, with factories in, in Thailand. Like are you. I mean, I know that you guys did some research on this as well, but do you wanna weigh in on this, like what you guys are, are seeing? Sure, of course. It’s very interesting. Like you said, we’re, we’re buying more in Thailand lately, and yeah, our, our team member helped do some research.

  1. But definitely Japan is in there on this list of some research, just [00:34:00] from, honestly, just some article we found just at the beginning of 2024, January 9th list, Thailand, Japan, and the partnership where basically it has, as long as you have a company in Thailand, uh, it has to be, but it has to be a level of less than 50% foreign owned.

It says as far as this J-T-E-P-A guideline and then, oh, that’s the importing. Sorry, I wasn’t really ready for this to be honest with you, but No worries. Yeah, I [00:34:30] didn’t read the full text, but there’s some guidelines, but some of the shareholders in Japan, at least the importer in Japan, needs to be Japanese.

It seems like J-T-E-P-A, I don’t know if you see that one. Japan, Thailand. Basically partnership agreement. JT EPA is, yeah, I mean, basically, I mean, that actually leads on to our next point. You. I mean, you don’t have to have a Japanese, yeah, I guess you don’t have to have a company, right? All you. Yeah. You don’t need to register a company in Japan, [00:35:00] or you don’t have to physically be based in Japan.

What you do need is what they call an acp. ACP stands for attorney for customs procedures. So if you have a representative that can do basically. You know, the Japanese government wants someone to be accountable if something goes wrong, right? So they need some company that’s registered in Japan. It doesn’t have to be your company.

So this is kind of like an like an agent. So someone like, for example, ungate, like what we mentioned earlier, the important compliance specialists, they can offer this [00:35:30] service for you. So if you do, if you use someone like a Ate, then you can take advantage of the pre-trade agreement between Thailand, Japan.

Between India, Japan. Yeah, because they’re Japanese, Japan. Got it. Yeah, because they’re Japanese. Right. So they’re, so you can take advantage o of that and then take advantage of Amazon. Japan’s opportunity as well. I, I’m not gonna get into the nitty gritty of like the different countries and. Free trade agreements because that’s like a whole, yeah, each one is a [00:36:00] master level of degree, but I do know, like I did high level research that these free trade agreements exist between these countries, Vietnam, India, Australia, Europe, uk, Switzerland, Mexico, Chile, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, Canada, New Zealand, the.

It varies by the product. Okay. Some, some have [00:36:30] like nearly all tariffs eliminated. Some still have partial. Okay. So I, I would do some research or I would talk to someone like an import specialist, like a ate, they can find out the specifics for you. Okay. I mean, these are like what? You pay like the customs brokers for, to give you like an educated answer.

But, but for us entrepreneurs and for Amazon sellers, I just want you guys to, to know that Japan has these free trade agreements so that way you can circumvent [00:37:00] the US China tariffs and you can get additional duty reductions through these agreements. So yeah. I hope that makes sense. No, that’s great. It’s definitely great.

And then like, yeah, thanks for clarifying or helping me out ’cause yeah, the, the website says you to be a Japanese. Majority owned, but like you said, you’re not a Japanese company. You’re using like the importer. I’m, I’m just kinda reiterating that for people listening. So if they read those docs right, they, they don’t have maybe the Thai, the Japanese company importing, but they could use the importer for the [00:37:30] Japanese company requirement.

Yeah. Okay. Alright, so should we move on? Yeah, let’s roll. Let’s keep going man. It’s great. Okay, so let’s move on to the fifth bridge for entering Amazon Japan. That’s launch strategy. So I mean, obviously launch strategy is super important. If people wanna launch as high as possible, get ranked on page one on Amazon, take advantage of the honeymoon period.

I think if we apply the 80 20 rule, like the number one thing that Amazon sellers should do, when.[00:38:00]

If you have like a seasoned skew, if you have a product, let’s say selling us already has like 700 reviews and if you enter the the Japan market with that same, you can actually carry over those 700 reviews from Amazon into Amazon Japan. So that way from day one, rather than zero reviews, you have 700 reviews.

And this is amplified in Japan because our earlier point, the low level of [00:38:30] competition means that the average reviews threshold in Japan, Amazon Japan is a lot lower than us, than UK, than Germany. So you need fewer reviews to compete in Japan. Those other countries. Okay, so those 700 reviews, let’s say in the US maybe.

Maybe you were in the middle of the pack, right on the page, right? 700. But Japan, maybe you’ll be near the top of the pack on the top of the page for those reviews. And I just have one example. This [00:39:00] is, again, this is kind of an extreme example, but looking at these diapers, right, these diapers sold in the US there’s about 70,486 global reviews.

But in Japan. Theses only have 13 reviews, right? I mean, that’s kind of an extreme example, but on the whole, the average review threshold in Amazon Japan is a lot lower. So that means launch strategy carry over your reviews, you, you have that social proof, like from day one if you’re already selling. So that’s why I think the sweet opportunity [00:39:30] for Amazon Japan, for Amazon sales to get in.

Yeah. Okay. Makes sense. Yeah. All right, so let’s.


European, Amazon markets, overall costs are. In Japan and there’s also opportunities for new types of promotions, ads, and also there’s in-depth data for analysis [00:40:00] optimization. Also, I wanted to highlight external traffic. I know a lot of you guys wanna do that as well. Influencer marketing is very big in Japan, and also social media is key as well.

So I’ll, I’ll include a couple examples. I also wanted to credit our, our friend Java. She shared a lot of very, very good information about influencer marketing, so I kind of wanted to pass along the word, so I’ll pull credit to read too on like the next two topics. So, influencer marketing in Japan, the, the top [00:40:30] platforms are YouTube and TikTok, and also Twitter is also, it’s still very big.

Twitter used to be the, the number one platform, social media in Japan for many years, and I, I remember my Japanese person said, the reason why is because like the text limit on Twitter, like back in the old days before Elon took over again, it was short. Yeah, it was a hundred, yeah, it was 140 characters, but the Japanese, like the script was very short, so it was perfect for that.

Japanese people really liked that [00:41:00] because. Oh yeah. But now, yeah. But talk, so talking about social media now, the number one used social media app in Japan is an app called Line, LINE. It’s the number one app that everyone in Japan and their mom is using. All the, the brands are using it for like promotions and Yeah, it’s, it’s like, it’s kind like WeChat in China.

It’s like a, and it has 85%. Market penetration [00:41:30] for users between age 16 to 64, so 82%. So eight outta 10 people are using line in Japan. Like when you meet somebody in Japan, you don’t ask for their number or their WhatsApp or Facebook. You ask for their line. That’s the number one way that people keep in touch.

Number two is Twitter or X 53%. Number three is Instagram at 49%. And one of the big misconceptions about Japan is Facebook. Facebook actually is not very popular in Japan. They only have 24.8% penetration. So you can [00:42:00] see that, you know, if you wanna do like Facebook ads and. It’s not gonna be effective in Japan.

Line is the number one way. And then at our last conference last year, Mike, you remember you were there. We had sellers share about building an audience using line insert card strategies using line. I mean there’s, I mean, line is like the way to build an audience. And many of these seven figure sellers like Nick Katz, he says that he really, he builds a list using line, and then he sends out messages.

’cause anyone that adds [00:42:30] a company, a brand online, like they want to get discounts, like PE people are like price sensitive in that way. So anytime there’s a holiday, like he shoots out a message on Friday. And then he shoots out another message on Sunday night. And literally like sometimes the traffic, if it goes to their website, it’s like crashing their servers.

There’s so much, it’s so much interest, like because people on holiday, they’re bored, they’re on their phones and like that thing pops up and they’re ready, they’re ready to shop. So amazing. Definitely take advantage of that. I I, I know, I remember [00:43:00] that was, it was a lot of great stuff at the last session.

Ate it was amazing. Yeah. Line. Yeah. I used line too in Thailand quite a bit. Yeah. Yeah. I think it, it’s a Japanese company though, but yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a Japanese company too. It’s speak in Thailand, right? Yeah, it’s when I lived, there’s the main, it’s the main chat app in Thailand for sure. I don’t know the numbers like this, but it’s definitely like, it’s hard to give people on WhatsApp or other chats.

They’re mostly online if you talk to people on Thailand. Yeah. [00:43:30] Yeah, for sure, for sure. So those are the, the six bridges that we talked about. I also, we covered a lot today, but I feel like it’s just the tip of the iceberg. So I wanted to offer the bonus bridge number seven, and we’re doing an in-person.

Three day conference in Japan, all about Amazon selling in Japan, and even more than Amazon selling, we are adding some new topics as well. It’ll be in Okinawa, Japan. Yeah. April 8th to the 10th, and it will be at the [00:44:00] Hilton. It’s a beautiful resort in Okinawa. Literally, it’s on the beach like, yeah. Okinawa is beautiful.

I wish you guys, yeah, I mean, Mike, you’ve been told Okawa like how is it like. Yeah, I mean there’s this like, it’s like Hawaii. Hawaii, right? I think it’s called the Hawaii Yeah. Of Asia. It’s, it’s got, there’s nice golf courses. There’s really amazing beach everywhere. It’s like, like I remember like at least the parts, I went to a, I went for a conference for Startup weekend back in 2014 for [00:44:30] it.

It was Startup Weekend or? Mm-Hmm. Regional Summit. And it was a beautiful resort. Yeah. You could walk to the beach. It was like hill, like, it wasn’t like it was flat, but it was like kinda these little hills, like Mario Kart. I felt like it was golf carts and stuff. It was really unique. It was very, yeah, flat.

I remember and, and Nice. Yeah. Relaxing. Yeah. Yeah. So we, we chose this location. I mean, it’s a relocation and I, my family and I, we were. In the pandemic, [00:45:00] we were blessed. I think there’s a lot worse places to be in than the Japan.

Well, in the two day conference, you learn the roadmap. How to sell up to $965,000 on Amazon Japan. We’ll have eight figure sellers, seven figure sellers share their playbook, how they did it, launch strategies, external marketing. We talked about line, so you’ll learn exact strategies. You’ll see like what sort insert cards people are using, and I [00:45:30] think like the most valuable thing is to be able to.

To meet these people in person. And I think like the networking besides just the, the, the in-classroom, you know, two days, right? Yeah. You also have plenty of opportunities to network and we’ll be able to go snorkeling, we’ll go on the beach and we’ll go kayaking and they have a world famous aquarium as well in, in Okinawa.

So if you’re into that, I think it’s a great excuse not only to to learn more about selling [00:46:00] on Amazon Japan, but. The, the experience there. And we have a lot of top sellers attending as well. So people like Nick Katz, he’s a seven figure seller. He’s been selling in Japan. He’s lived in Japan 30 years. And this guy’s a retail expert.

Yeah. People like YouTube, Java, she’s a Japan localization expert. GA’s gonna be there. So literally any question. You have about your product, about compliance. You’ll have several days to find out exactly what you need to do to get your product in, and you’ll find out [00:46:30] all of like the duty rates, the tax rates, et cetera.

And yeah, I mean, agency will leave no stone unturned. It’ll be April 8th to the 10th, three full days at the Hilton SoCo in Okinawa, and tickets are on sale now. Seven Figure Seller Japan Mastermind. We’ll have a, a discount code for you guys. If you link it up below, yeah, we’ll get this on the show notes for sure.

And I can put in my outro audio too. Yeah. Great. So yeah, I mean [00:47:00] that, so thank you so much. I hope this is helpful to some of you guys. I mean, dealing, going back to the whole supply chain issue that we’re dealing with, again, I think it just makes sense to source, to sell closer to the source to deserve, diversify into the fourth biggest market in the world in Japan.

And there’s also ways that.

It’s great. So yeah, hope to see some of you guys in Japan and hope this helps. It’s been very amazing, [00:47:30] Gary. And yeah, like just to kind of put my points is, yeah, I, I was, I was lucky enough to participate last April. It was in Tokyo, so it was more urban. This would be more resorts that if you’re listening only, you’ll have to check out the website for the pictures.

But yeah, I mean, this is, this is. On the ocean and it’s a high, high end resort. And of course we, but we’ve, we the lowest possible room rates for you guys. So it’s not gonna like five hotel prices. You will get any [00:48:00] better. The one we negotiated, I really had to like kind of twist their arms because Great.

I’m like, we’re bringing in like all of these top sellers and we’re really selling the Hilton as well. So it’s a beautiful hotel. And one other thing is they have many English speaking staff, so language will not be an issue. Right? So if you don’t speak Japanese, that’s fine. I’ll make sure they’ll have English speaking staff to take good care of you guys.

If you want more drinks or if you wanna go somewhere. I always try to. Deliver a good experience. A [00:48:30] as Mike knows. Yeah. Yeah. It was really top notch. Like the concierge. Yeah. Yeah, the concierge as well. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, it’s great. It’s great. We’ll link it up on the show notes and it’s gonna, it’s gonna be even more amazing than, than last year, so I’m so excited for this.

Are you gonna join us, Mike? I’m, I’m on, I’m, uh, I’m on the, I’m on the fence. It’s about the fam bringing the family or not is the harder part. But I, I, Okinawa. [00:49:00] Okinawa is so kid friendly and I mean just, yeah, I remember. I remember you can walk the streets. There’s no like crazy scooters and the beaches, the water and yeah, the aquarium.

I mean the, it’s a world class aquarium. Huge. They have whale sharks. I don’t know how they got those in the tank. They have giant amazing, you can sea turtles, dolphins. I mean, it’s it’s great. It’s, it’s amazing. You, you can spend a whole day there. I mean, like, you can be at the conference. Your wife and your [00:49:30] kids, they’ll be happy over there.

Right. Okay. So that sounds cool. Yeah, I’m excited, man. Yeah. If you guys have families, I’ll let me know. Like I, I took care of my, my son for two years in Okinawa, so I, I know like Perfect. See the spots. Spots, okay. Yeah. I know most of the spots, but yeah, it’s, it’s a big place. Great. It’s a good place. Yeah.

I’m really excited for this. Thanks. Thanks for everything you do, Gary, save the date Cross-Border Summit 2024 is coming back. 2020 threes was [00:50:00] epic. Never got such great feedback in all of our events. Cross-Border Summit 2024. We’re planning already a year in advance. Save the date, November. 14th and 15th will be the core events.

But of course it is a full week of amazing things. There’s pre-event, post events, workshops, trainings, elephants, sanctuaries. We have a lot of amazing things here in Chiang Mai, Thailand again, so I would love to see you there. We’ve already pre-sold some tickets to previous [00:50:30] people. We will be opening up tickets soon.

Subscribe to get updates at 2024 dot cross-border summit.com. Also, check out videos and test. AMS from last year as well as all of our years. We did ’em in China, and this will be our sixth one. It’ll be great to meet you there and network and make some great relationships. I can’t wait. November, 2024.

Alright, I’m not even sure what it says. Rice with stewed. Pork looks good. Guy worked [00:51:00] hard making it. And in Taiwan. For a just three day meeting, a couple of, in this blockchain e-commerce project, we’re working deeply on load pipe. We might have seen video last time and there’s another one coming, what one of our advisors was visiting, so I over, so I met him here.

We’re go back, back states, and also some other couple quick meetings. And then India. I’ll be heading to India on Saturday for the India sourcing trip. Mega, super [00:51:30] excited for that. Some things happening here. Lot. Lots, lots, lots happening, but essentially going really deep into the e-commerce protocol building.

They’re so, so, so lucky on previous shows and a couple other amazing developers, and we’re building a product, right? A lot of crypto products are good marketing and hype. But we’re, we’re doing the opposite. We’re building and not, not hyping. So it’s been a fascinating discussion and building and creating [00:52:00] most of January.

So we’re into February now, so really excited for this. People could join a discord and we’re having some dis open discussions with just anybody that kind of comes into the community about how to structure the governance, how to structure decision making. It’s been really a fascinating time. And it is taken up a lot of my time lately.

So it’s just, and we are, we have a great team for our Amazon brands, Christians. We have Locke, we have [00:52:30] Nico, we have a great team behind them and Shaone the content team. Just really trying to push it 2024. I hope we all level up. I hope we all grow. Well, we can’t be lazy. We can’t just sit on our laurels.

We gotta make things happen. So that’s it. I’m gonna finish my dinner. It’s hard to eat and talk to you. Thanks for tuning in, listening to this, and have a great evening. Bye. To get more info about running an international business, please visit our website@ww.global from asia.com. That’s [00:53:00] ww.global from asia.com.

Also, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed. Thanks for tuning in.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply