Understanding Distribution in Japan: Selling Directly To Retailers

“We do great business with Best Buy in the U.S., so I’m sure stores in Japan like Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera, K’s Denki, and Joshin would love to have our products on their shelves.” In our experience, this is only partially true. Retailers like the companies listed may be quite interested in selling your products, but they will rarely be interested in doing business directly with foreign suppliers, so approaching them is almost always a complete waste of time. Here …

Read More

Finding Japanese Distributors Using Government Services

Many clients come to us after unsuccessfully trying to find Japanese sales partners using the matchmaking services provided by government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Commerce, UK Department for International Trade, The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Austrade, German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan, and Switzerland Global Enterprise. Why are these government agencies rarely successful in helping foreign companies connect with the right Japanese distributors or sales agents? I’ve talked with dozens of clients from all around the world about …

Read More

Do You Need “Connections” To Find The Right Japanese Distributor?

I’m often asked by new clients if we have experience in their industry. The underlying belief here seems to be that you need “connections” to do business with Japanese companies or need to “know someone” in order for distributors in Japan to take you seriously. This is simply not true. We have cold-called thousands of Japanese distributors and I can say with great confidence that the vast majority of Japanese distributors are extremely open to hearing about new business opportunities… …

Read More

Japanese Distributors – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I sell my products in Japan? I don’t speak a word of Japanese or have any connections in Japan. Almost all foreign products sold in the Japanese market go through specialized distributors (importers). These companies handle importation, marketing and promotion of your products, warehousing, and local support. They typically purchase your products at a discount and then resell at a higher price to retailers, wholesalers, and even end-users in some industries. These distributors work closely with the foreign …

Read More