Friday, May 30, 2014

stubby holders

We decided to sell custom stubby holders in Japan this summer. I see them often in bars in bangkok but rarely see them in japan. Hoping they look something new to the people in japan. By the way do stubby holders come from Australia ? I see many .au web sites of stubby holders. Will let you know when we start sell.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Effect of consumption tax raise or not ?

Japan's consumption tax rate was raised to 8% from 5%. Sales of our promotional goods over internet seems to be some what affected by the raise because the sames amount does not look similar to the one of last year or last month.

Will this be because of the raise ? Or a part of large wave of business shrinkage ?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Do you like take of Chloride ? I still remember the smell and taste of chloride from the cooked fish that I had in a famous Japanese restaurant in a hotel by Silom. The retruant is BBQ style and you will pick fish, vegetable and meets that you like displayed on ice by the counter. I guess they wrap and keep left over materials in cool boxes and when they do it they add chloride. It is just my guess. When I ate the chloride taste fish I thought I would never come to this place again.

Then some months ago I heard over the radio that there was a test over teenagers in Japan about the taste of sandwiches sold in convenience stores in Japan, such as 7-11s and lawsons. Teenagers in Japan did not just mind the taste of chloride but they liked the taste of sandwiches with chloride over the ones without. Will this be the same in other countries ? May be yes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

30% salary increase in Shanghai

When I talk with management that are doing software development business in China they mention that they need to consider 30% salary increase every year to decide their pricing. Salary of the engineers in Shanghai is too close to the ones in some part of Japan and some of companies now make softwares outside Shanghai or north or south japan such as Sapporo, Okinawa and Kagoshima. Offshoring to China will make no sense in near suture for Japanese companies.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2)Phone inquiries

Why are phone inquiries important?

If you are a sales person you know it. Just think about how much advertisement money you have spent to just get one phone call? People call you because email takes time. When people call it means in most of occasions they are in hurry. Customer in hurry tend to order more than normal customers.

So when you get phone call you need to listen what they want. An example in our business.

*Customers say they want to order 10,000 PCS of rubber charms and want them to be delivered within 3 weeks. Its too tight for us. What do you answer? Do you say we are sorry we can not make them? Then that person should leave. You should ask like do you accept partial delivery like 2,000 first and 8,000 later? Or ask them they are the end user or have end client. If they are the end user its relatively easy to complete the artwork.

Friday, July 6, 2012

1) Internet advertisement

Internet advertisement is an lowest cost and most effective way to get customers first attention. At least for some products. If you open an internet shop without advertisement, you will probably get very few access to your shop even when your shop is listed in top 10 rank with proper key words. I know it from our 4 year experience. Lets compare to other marketing./sales methods.

*Contracting with big internet shop. There are two big ones, rakuten and yahoo shopping mall. Both require legal company entity in Japan. Off course there is monthly fee to pay. If your product is BtoC and can be stocked, not order made, it might be a good choice to contract.

*Hire sales person. Its a good way if you are selling a few costly products to limited companies not individuals. Things like expensive medical devices are good for this way.

Most of small to mid business in Japan use 5K to 10K USD for internet advertisement. Two major ways to advertise, google adwords and yahoo listing. Actually users are 50/50. But YAHOO is used by people with less computer addicts. Heavy users of computer use more google.

Interesting story. A friend of mine is a famous Android developer as well as a owner of a company who hosts a android teaching class. When he advertise for the same key words he says google costs more. yahoo is cheaper. But we sell key chains, coasters and straps and yahoo costa usually more. This means that Android class you get more inquiry from Google and small charms from YAHOO. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

How a small business in the US start sales in Japan?

By using internet advertisement it is now easy to start selling your product to Japanese market. I will show you one example.

We sell our PVC rubber charms to Japanese market. We use internet advertisement in Japan, google and yahoo, to get customer's first contact. But our products are mainly made in China and Thailand, customer emails and phone calls are answered in Thailand. We do have an office in Japan but it is to receive paper orders from some of clients or to send out sample products.

As you might know by now we are not really in Japan but we are selling our products to Japan. What we need to Japanese customers are internet advertisement, receive phone inquiries and sample product shipping.

So if you are a small business owner and are interested in selling your products we will take care

1) internet advertisement
2) phone inquiries
3) sample shipping

and you might expand your business to Japan. Tomorrow I will explain why 1) and 2) above are important.