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Amazon Japan opens online shopping mall [asahi.com]
The Japanese arm of U.S. e-tailer Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday opened a virtual shopping mall that allows third parties to set up shops on its Web site.
The move will intensify competition with existing shopping malls, such as Rakuten Inc.'s Rakuten Ichiba, the nation's largest online mall, and Yahoo Japan Corp.'s Yahoo! Shopping portal.
Amazon Japan KK had previously focused on selling directly to consumers online.
Initially, about 50 companies, including the Hibiya-Kadan flower shop chain and gift retailer Ring Bell Co., will open shops.
Amazon Japan will later extend the invitation to small businesses in local areas.
It's about thime that Amazon Japan got around to doing this. Other shopping portals have done very well in Japan.
Any "wise words" from you would be truly appreciated.
You'd think that someone would have done this already. There are plenty of gaijin here with the talent to do something like that. I guess it would really depend on the goods available. Without the backing of one of the big-name brands it might be difficult to get merchants to sign up though.
We've talked about English SEO in Japan and Asia before, but not in quite some time. That might warrant its own thread though. However, I think that what you're suggesting is a shopping mall with Japanese products targeting the English speaking world in general, right?
Do you think it would be a good idea to open a rakuten/amazon/yahoo shop in English and direct it toward the customers outside Japan.
1) Size of the market
Is there really a big enough market to support this? Not just the buyers market (people outside Japan wanting to buy the probucts), but also the sellers market (sellers in Japan with the resources to target gaijin- see issues 2 & 3).
2) Language issue
How many of the people setting up Yahoo or Amazon shops have the English ability to make it work? Not just to translate the content on the site, but also handle orders and customer service.
3) International shipping costs
Once you add international shipping costs, it's very hard for most of the merchants to be competitive with stores offering similar products overseas.
[edited by: LifeinAsia at 7:09 pm (utc) on April 27, 2007]