If you want to distribute your products in Japan, make them colorful.

What people are saying about Mulberry Fields
“A very interesting blog.” – a company in France

I got an email last month from someone who was not satisfied with their Japan distributor and asked me if I could help them find a new distributor. Although I mainly handle China projects I do get inquires about Japan distribution since I am based in Tokyo.

I wrote back to this person and told them that they need to understand the market where their products are being sold and then they have to ask their distributor some questions. This company’s product is an electronics accessory. Of course when I know that I think Akihabara, which is the main electronics district in Tokyo here. If you want an electronic component or accessory, Akihabara is where you go. So I advised this person to ask their distributor if the product was in stores in Akihabara ? If not, then that is probably not a distributor with a lot of reach in the electronics industry. I remember another distribution inquiry a couple of years ago for a US company that made kitchen apparel and they were not happy with their Japanese distributor. It turns out the company’s product was being “distributed” in Japan in one small store in Yokohma where it lay hidden on rack with other items.

I also noticed that the electronics company’s product does not come with many color options. But when you walk into an electronics store here you will be greeted with a rainbow of options. You will see I-phone cases in 100 different colors. For all its conformity, and there is a lot of it here, Japan is actually a very diverse and colorful place. Has their current distributor given them any feedback about their design ? A good distributor will always do that.

I have said it many times before when you do business in China or Japan, the more knowledge you have about local conditions the more successful you will be.

Here are some more posts about doing buiness in Japan ( because after all I do live here)

How the Japanese see the China business
Sourcing in Japan
Understanding local markets is the key to success