E-commerce is booming in Japan, with online retail sales projected to reach 21.8 trillion yen by 2024. As more businesses look to tap into the lucrative Japanese market, finding a reliable e-commerce fulfillment service is crucial for delivering products quickly and efficiently to customers across the country. This article will explore the ins and outs of e-commerce fulfillment in Japan - from the different types of services available to how to choose the right provider for your specific business needs.
What is an e-commerce fulfillment service?
E-commerce fulfillment refers to the complete process of receiving, warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping orders placed on an online store. A fulfillment service handles all the logistics and operations involved in getting a customer's order from the warehouse to their doorstep. This allows e-commerce businesses to focus on sales, marketing, and customer service while leaving fulfillment operations to experts.
E-commerce fulfillment companies offer important services such as:
Warehousing - Safe storage of inventory in fulfillment centers close to target markets. This includes receiving stock, inspecting quality, putting away inventory, and tracking stock levels.
Order processing - Receiving orders, confirming payment, picking products from warehouse shelves, packing parcels, and attaching shipping labels.
Shipping - Integrating with postal and courier services to ship orders out on time. This includes dropshipping orders directly from suppliers.
Customer service - Assisting with returns, exchanges, tracking inquiries, and other issues.
Inventory management - Tracking stock levels across warehouses, forecasting demand, and integrating with online stores to keep inventory updated in real time.
Reporting & analytics - Providing insights into order volumes, peak periods, bestsellers, and more to inform business decisions.
Types of e-commerce fulfillment services
There are various types of e-commerce fulfillment services that can be tailored and employed to satisfy the particular needs of different businesses.
1. 3PL (Third-party logistics)
3PL providers offer comprehensive outsourced fulfillment services that can include warehousing, order processing, shipping, customer service, and other logistics functions. They have large fulfillment centers equipped to handle B2C and B2B e-commerce for small to large product volumes.
2. In-house order fulfillment (Sefl fulfillment)
An in-house fulfillment approach involves the retailer fulfilling orders using their own warehouses and resources. This allows maximum control but also incurs more overhead to manage logistics operations in-house. Self-fulfillment + 3PL models are popular for balancing control with outsourcing complex fulfillment.
With drop shipping, the retailer does not actually stock products. Instead, orders are forwarded directly to suppliers or manufacturers who then ship goods to customers. This greatly reduces upfront inventory costs but provides less control over order delivery and customer experience.
Why do businesses need e-commerce fulfillment services in Japan?
E-commerce fulfillment services play a crucial role in helping foreign retailers overcome significant obstacles when entering the Japanese market.
Language & cultural barriers
Local fulfillment partners can assist foreign retailers in adapting their packaging, instructions, and customer service to align with Japanese preferences. By leveraging native Japanese speakers, communication with customers can be enhanced for better effectiveness.
Handling fulfillment & logistics
The unique geography of Japan makes it difficult to distribute goods efficiently. To address this problem, fulfillment experts work to optimize delivery routes and provide lower shipping fees for remote areas across the country's numerous islands...
Managing returns & exchanges
Japan has special product labeling laws and complex return procedures. Local fulfillment services assist in handling returns, exchanges, and refunds per Japanese regulations.
Accessing supplier & distribution networks
Connecting with established suppliers and using their wholesale distribution networks allows for fast restocking and competitive pricing. Additionally, fulfillment companies can assist in sourcing from Japanese suppliers.
Understanding regulations & duties
Complex import laws, product testing requirements, labeling standards, and duties make selling into Japan difficult. Fulfillment experts handle import clearance, duties payments, and ensuring products meet Japanese compliance standards.
What's the best eCommerce order fulfillment solution for foreign businesses selling in Japan?
An optimal order fulfillment solution for an international business should encompass these key factors
A fulfillment center located in Japan - This provides fast nationwide delivery and easy returns for Japanese shoppers.
Integration with key local shipping carriers - Tie-ups with Japan Post, Yamato Transport, and major couriers provide discounted shipping rates and maximum coverage.
B2C-focused services - Consumers expect fast, flexible delivery options with precise tracking and proactive communication.
Granular payment methods - Options like cash-on-delivery and convenient payment points like Konbini, Webpay, or PayPay increase conversions.
Native Japanese customer service - Phone, email, and chat support in Japanese establishes trust and resolves issues faster.
Comprehensive reverse logistics - Return policies and procedures tailored specifically to Japanese consumers.
Inventory management synchronized with online sales channels - Real-time inventory tracking across online stores and fulfillment centers to prevent overselling.
The combination of localized order fulfillment with integrated nationwide shipping and Japanese customer service provides the best customer experience when selling to Japanese consumers online.
How to choose the right e-commerce fulfillment service provider for your business in Japan
Selecting the right e-commerce fulfillment partner is key to success in Japan. Here are important factors to evaluate potential providers on:
1. Location of fulfillment centers
Ideally choose a partner with warehouses located near Tokyo to reach Japan's population centers faster. Fulfillment centers should also be strategically placed to enable economical shipping to outlying islands.
2. Shipping capabilities & carrier integrations
Review the range of shipping services (air, sea, same-day, scheduled delivery etc) and how well fulfillment systems integrate with major carriers like Japan Post and Yamato Transport.
3. Experience with Japanese compliance
Look for expertise in navigating Japan's complex product regulations, labeling laws, duties/taxes payments, and clearance procedures. This prevents costly mistakes.
4. Client portfolio & success stories
Review client case studies to understand their experience selling into Japan via the provider. Look for proven success supporting overseas retailers.
5. Support for multichannel selling
Ensure the provider can integrate inventory and order management across online sales channels like Shopify, Amazon, Rakuten, social commerce etc.
6. Scalability of services
Evaluate capacity to flexibly scale up storage, staffing, and operations as your Japan sales grow. High growth should not degrade service levels.
7. Pricing model
Compare fixed vs usage-based pricing models. Usage-based offers more flexibility for variable order volumes, while fixed pricing provides more predictable costs.
8. Responsiveness & account management
Assess ease of contacting support teams and how proactive account managers are in optimizing processes and addressing issues.
Ezbuy Japan - reliable fulfillment partner for your overseas sellers when doing business in Japan.
If you are an overseas e-commerce retailer looking to expand your business in Japan, you need a reliable fulfillment partner that can help you navigate the country's complex e-commerce landscape. That's where Ezbuy Japan comes in.
With two large fulfillment centers positioned near Tokyo and Osaka, they provide nationwide delivery coverage. Integrations with Japan Post, Yamato Transport, and major couriers provide low shipping rates across Japan's complex geography.
Their bilingual support team provides customer service in Japanese and English over phone, email and chat. This helps resolve issues faster while their return portal simplifies reverse logistics.
Ezbuy Japan handles all import clearance, duties payments, labeling compliance and warehouse storage. This reduces regulatory complexity for foreign brands. Real-time multichannel inventory sync ensures consistent stock levels across online stores.
Ezbuy Japan is a comprehensive e-commerce fulfillment service that facilitates online businesses looking to operate in the Japanese market. With a focus on borderless shopping and shipping, it offers various benefits for businesses, including automated warehouse fulfillment, adaptable purchasing in wholesale e-commerce, and real-time order tracking. Whether you are an anime enthusiast, a tech guru, or any other niche, Ezbuy Japan can assist in fulfilling your business needs.