This article is a continuation of the “Selling in Japan” series. In the previous article, we talked about how to convert your visitors into customers. Now that your visitors have become customers, how do you get them to keep coming back?
This part of the series is based on a webinar presented by btrax CEO Brandon Katayama Hill and e-commerce consultant Ayaka Matsui. It is split into three parts and published in the following installments:
This article will address the third topic: How to retain your customers in Japan. We will cover some of the most common and effective ways to get your previous customers to come back and shop with you again.
How to Retain Your Customers
Customer Loyalty Programs
Perhaps the most basic way to retain customers and build loyalty is through the use of customer loyalty programs such as loyalty cards or points that customers can collect through repeated purchase.
Customer loyalty programs are very common in Japan. If your store is hosted on an online shopping mall such as Rakuten, you may also consider doing “Points Campaigns.” Rakuten has a points system where users can gain points by shopping and use those points in other Rakuten stores to purchase goods or even reserve flights and hotels.
In order to increase customer retention, you can run campaigns to give customers double or triple the amount of points when you shop again at your store. You can also reward customers for making a certain number of purchases within a set time period.
Of course, once a customer makes their first purchase at your store, you collect information such as their email address and you can begin sending them promotional newsletters. In the image below are some Japanese newsletter services you may consider using – these services are cheaper to use and more tailored towards the Japanese audience. On the right is the standard formatting for Japanese promotional newsletters.
Besides localizing your emails to your Japanese audience, one thing to keep in mind is to optimize for mobile. Around 80% of the Japanese population use mobile devices – that’s 101.7 million people, and of that, 58% access email on their phones.
Highlighting Birthdays and Anniversaries
Another way to get customers to come back to your store is to highlight birthdays and anniversaries of your business, thanking former customers for their support.
Above are various promotional banners used by e-commerce companies in Japan to promote their anniversaries. Some companies offer prizes and bonus points when people make purchases; these promotions help stores attain repeat customers.
Similar to celebrating a business anniversary, there are Japan-specific sale seasons that businesses looking to sell in Japan should be aware of. Below are some seasonal promotion ideas for Japan:
It is imperative that e-commerce businesses ride on seasonal promotion trends and take advantage of their own anniversaries to push sales and customer retention.
Real Event-based Campaigns
Brands in the U.S. often jump on opportunities to capitalize on events or breaking news to run relevant timely campaigns. This can mean anything from having a Memorial Day sale if you’re an e-commerce brand, or jumping on current events like Oreo’s famous 2013 Super Bowl tweet.
The same goes for Japan, and that means being aware of the different events going on locally or nationally, and keeping your finger on the pulse for news and relevant public figures to partner with.
One example is Konami Digital Entertainment’s capitalization on the World Cup hype in Japan in 2014. The Japanese game maker partnered with perhaps their most famous soccer player, Keisuke Honda, for a campaign advertising their soccer-themed games, including mobile and console games like Winning Eleven.
Want to Sell in Japan?
The Selling in Japan series will come to an end with this final installment. Over the last few months, we have covered the following topics:
- How to Sell Online in Japan
- Driving Japanese E-Commerce Traffic and Revenue
- Converting Traffic into Sales
- 5 Ways to Retain Customers
While the Japanese market is vastly different from the U.S. and requires extra care and attention when planning your approach, it is possible for your business to succeed if you follow the right steps and take the time to understand the Japanese consumer and how your business can serve their needs.
btrax is a localization and marketing agency specializing in Asian market entry and growth. We provide:
- Japan, China and Korea market research
- Asian web and e-commerce localization
- Digital marketing
If you are interested in entering the Japanese market but are not sure how, do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com! We will do our best to assist you.
Photo by: Kinpi