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#426 – Amazon Japan Success Strategies

Are you interested in selling on Amazon Japan? Today, we welcome two experts to share why it’s a big opportunity and their tips and strategies on how to succeed in this marketplace.
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39 minutes read

Video of the episode at the bottom

In this episode, join our host Bradley as he speaks with Gary Huang and Nick Katz about all the fantastic opportunities in selling on Amazon Japan. They talk about the figures, the tools, the culture, and all of the strategies you need to know to hit the ground running from day 1. We also cover the technical skills and requirements in selling in this marketplace, like PPC costs, importer of records, and more! We also covered the first Amazon seller conference that will be held in Tokyo this coming April and all the unique experiences it has to offer. Tune in until the end. This will be a good one!

In episode 428 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley, Gary, and Nick discuss:

  • 02:30 – Gary Huang’s Backstory And How He Ended Up In Japan
  • 05:58 – “There’s Big Opportunity Here In Amazon Japan”
  • 07:20 – Facts And Figures Don’t Lie On How Big Amazon Is In Japan
  • 10:00 – Utilization Of Amazon-Selling Tools By Foreign And Local Sellers
  • 11:20 – Do Japanese People Favor Domestic-Made Verus Foreign Products?
  • 14:00 – Tips On How To Be Successful In This Marketplace
  • 16:30 – The Keys To The Japanese Consumer Mindset
  • 17:15 – You Can Still Sell In Japan Even If You Don’t Speak Japanese
  • 19:30 – What Are The PPC Costs In Amazon Japan?
  • 20:40 – Do I Need An Importer Of Record?
  • 22:00 – Tips On How To Succeed Selling In Amazon Japan
  • 25:45 – Join The First Amazon Seller Conference In Tokyo, Japan
  • 28:50 – Sharing Memorable Experiences You’ll Get If You Attend
  • 30:00 – Travel Requirements When Going To Japan
  • 32:00 – Why Is It A Good Time To Travel To Japan?
  • 32:30 – Personal Health, Habits, & Hobbies Outside The Amazon Grind 

Transcript

Bradley Sutton:

Today we’re gonna talk all about the fourth biggest marketplace for Amazon in the world, Amazon, Japan, and what an incredible opportunity is for sellers out there with two experts who have been living in Japan for years. (Speaking in Japanese) Pretty cool I think

Bradley Sutton:

Black Box by Helium 10 houses is the largest database of Amazon products and keywords in the world outside of Amazon itself. We have over 2 billion products and many millions more keywords from different Amazon marketplaces, from USA to Australia to Germany. And more. Use our powerful filters to search through this database for pockets of opportunity that you might wanna get into with your first or next product to sell on Amazon. For more information, go to h10.me/blackbox. Don’t forget, you can save 10% off for life on Helium 10 by using our special code SSP10. Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton. And this is the show that’s a completely BS free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the e-commerce world. And before we get started here with our guest, this is 2023 people think, some people do cultural appropriation and whatnot.

Bradley Sutton:

So I have to explain for those of you watching on YouTube, my Japanese Yukata here, which is actually this, right now, it’s 11:00 PM almost Pacific time. And so, like, I usually work around this time and do podcasts for people who are in other time zones. And this is what I wear guys at in my house every night. For those who don’t know, I actually used to be a sumo wrestler, not professional, but amateur ranked number three in United States. I’ve been loving sumo wrestling. So I have my Japanese Yukata here. This is what I wear in my house. And our guests are actually in Japan, which is why I’m doing a podcast at 11:00 PM my time. Anyways Gary and Nick, (Speaking in Japanese).

Nick:

(Speaking in Japanese)

Bradley Sutton:

Excellent. Excellent. Yeah. that means you kinda like long time no, see, because Nick actually has been on the podcast, guys, so we’re not gonna go too much into his backstory. If you guys wanna check out his origin story, make sure to check out episode hundred and 78 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, 178. And then you could learn about him. And then Gary, I think this is the first time you’ve been on this podcast, perhaps.

Gary:

Correct. I’m super excited to finally be on here with you guys.

Bradley Sutton:

You two are in Japan. Now you’re not Japanese, so can you explain what’s your origin story like? Like where were you born in America, where were you born, and how did you make it to Japan?

Gary:

Definitely. I won’t give you my life story, but a long story short, I was born and raised in LA, Los Angeles, California. Went to USC lived there for like

Bradley Sutton:

Trojans

Gary:

Like yeah, USC Trojan. I got my Dodgers cap on for those of you guys I can see. And then I got started in E-com in the mid two thousands, very, very early on, back when eBay was the biggest player I was selling. I was wholesale. I got my products from a local wholesaler in LA imported from China. I started selling women’s shoes, women’s footwear. That was my first product back in the eBay days. I moved out to Asia in 2008. I moved out to China because at that time, China was blowing up with the Beijing Olympics. And then at the same time, global financial crisis hit the US. So I wanted to make a move. I was just like fascinated with all the, the hustle and bustle in Shanghai. It’s like New York City on steroids. But why am I in Japan?

Gary:

I mean, fast forward 2019. Okay. So through that 11 years in China, I was working in sourcing. I was working for a consulting firm. I was like the point person for foreign clients sourcing pipes from China. So I literally visited hundreds of Chinese factories in the good, the bad, the ugly. I blog about it through one of my websites, 80/20 Sourcing. And then I pivoted to Amazon because back in about 2015, 2016 I heard the podcast like all the old, the OG guys that we used to listen to. And I was on the ground in China, so I kinda put two and two together. So I put the sourcing and e-com together in China. Fast forward to 2019, got married, had a young child.

Gary:

We were, we were two, like two freezing in Shanghai, so we wanted to go to Southeast Asia. So we left China before the pandemic. We never knew what was gonna happen. And pandemic hit long story short, we were too scared to go back. And we left the Japanese culture. You know, my wife is from China. She had a Japanese visa and we visited Japan like yearly. So we’re like, why not go to Japan, just waited out. So we, we ended up waiting in Japan in Okinawa for two and a half years. During the pandemic. But I mean, Okinawa was a beautiful place, super friendly people. It’s like the Hawaii of Japan. I don’t know if Bradley, if you’ve been there. It’s, it’s an awesome place.

Bradley Sutton:

To Okinawa? Yeah, that’s one of the place I used to live in, I’ve lived near near Tokyo. And then when I was little and then in all the way North Aomori, but never, never have lived, visited or anything tokiwa. So I definitely want to go.

Gary:

You know, I continue doing the online summits, the Seven Figure Seller summit. Cause at that time, people couldn’t travel. And you were just very fortunate. You know, we, we got like two, 3000 people to come onto our online events for Amazon sellers. And then we won a number of awards for favorite Amazon conference. But you know, fast forward to today now the world’s opening up and you know, we’re just talking Bradley was in Japan just a few months ago. And everything’s opened up in Japan conferences. And I was talking to Nick. I mean, Nick has known as the Japan guy. He’s been selling in Japan so many years, seven figure seller. And we put two together. We thought there’s a big opportunity here in Amazon, Japan it’s the number four biggest Amazon marketplace, but almost nobody is talking about it.

Gary:

Which is it’s kind of ridiculous. You know, people are talking about like smaller markets and we, no disrespect, but like UAE and like Holland or Poland. I mean, Japan’s much bigger than that, but a lot of people are just intimidated. So we thought why not do an Amazon conference in Japan, like on the ground here in Tokyo where people can be on the ground. They’ll learn from these seven figure Japan sellers like Nick. And we have some eight figure sellers, and we have a lot of experts as well. So that’s kind of our story to, to put together this conference to sell in Japan, which we think is a huge opportunity right now.

Bradley Sutton:

Now, Nick, you know when you were on the episode, I remember you had, or actually, no, that’s a lie. I don’t remember anything. I’m looking at the my notes from the old podcast. I don’t remember what I did last week, let alone an episode two years ago. So I, I don’t lie. So I’m gonna say, I’m looking at my notes and you had sold hundreds of thousands of dollars at that time. I think this was about 2020, you know Gary just mentioned one of the figures, which I’ve heard too, that Japan is the fourth biggest like Amazon marketplace. I believe you know, goes us and then Germany, and then kind of sometimes UK sometimes Japan for three and four. Are there any other like, facts and figures about just e-commerce in Japan, Amazon, and Japan, that you could throw out that helps kind of like, set people’s minds that, hey e-commerce in Japan is definitely a thing and something that people should be paying attention to?

Nick:

So, I mean, as, as you mentioned for an Amazon seller, Amazon Japan is the fourth largest marketplace or the third largest marketplace. Basically, the yen has taken a dive or took a dive last year. And so when you look at the Amazon figures the currency, it dropped about I think that 20%. So that probably factors into it. So it’s about the size of the UK. So if you think about it, it’s about the size of the UK. So it’s third, maybe fourth but it’s double the population of the UK. So that’s pretty good. So we talk about future or possible sales. You’ve got double the number of people to sell to if you’re already selling in the UK. And also it’s not just the fourth largest Amazon marketplace, it’s the fourth largest e-com marketplace in the world. So, I mean, if that doesn’t give you an idea that maybe you should at least be looking at it, then I don’t know what. Basically, so yeah, in a nutshell, I’ve just, yeah, fourth largest marketplace, fourth largest e-com marketplace, third highest GDP in the world population, double the size of the UK. I mean, those are probably the main stats that I would think of off the top of my head.

Gary:

Can I just add to that? Cause I, I’m coming to Japan almost with fresh ice I lived in Okina two and a half years. We just landed in Tokyo a few weeks ago. You know, here in Tokyo, Amazon is they have the prime delivery. They have like same day delivery. So you can order anything, you can order like groceries. You know, we’re furnishing our new apartment. You, as you guys may know, as Bradley probably knows, when you move into a new apartment, it’s just like a bare wooden floor and two air conditioning units and that’s it. So I’m ordering like refrigerator or tv you know, shelves and like linens and stuff like that, you can order am everything. Amazon’s the biggest marketplace online in Japan. They overtook Rakuten, so it’s prevalent. You see like the Amazon drivers like delivery guys everywhere. So it’s growing very quickly. And it’s everywhere.

Bradley Sutton:

Now, one of the things that gets me excited when I think about the Amazon Japan opportunity is amongst the sellers, culturally, it’s very strange to me because they pretty much don’t use tools. The great majority now, now there’s helium 10 has had functionality in for Amazon Japan in a couple years. There’s other smaller tool companies from China and other places to do it. But like the majority of the large, and from small to large, it’s funny, like people in America for Amazon USA has been using tools since Helium 10 was definitely not the first tool in America. People have been using other tools you know, since before Helium 10 was around even in 20 15, 20 16. But it’s almost like I don’t know if it’s a trust thing where they don’t, they don’t think or they don’t think they need it. But to me, like if I go into Japan and, and I have access to like let’s say Helium 10 cerebral, where I can just instantly put in my competitor’s ASIN and know all the keywords where they’re ranking for and stuff. It seems like I can have a nice advantage that I don’t have necessarily in these other marketplaces where I think the sellers overall seem to be more sophisticated. Am I completely, is this old information or is this kind of accurate from what you’ve seen, Nick?

Nick:

So you’re right, there aren’t very many tools for foreigners. There are tools for Japanese people that are used. They’re not particularly good. No, rather pricey. But half of the sellers on Amazon Japan, or the half of the third party sellers are Chinese. And they certainly have tools. So they know.

Bradley Sutton:

Now this questions for either of you along the same topic of selling Japan and, and talking about Chinese sellers or other you know, foreign sellers. I remember culturally, not that it’s necessarily some bad racist thing or something, but there isn’t there kind of like an aversion for like ma foreign made products? Like don’t the, the culturally don’t, Japanese people favor heavily made in Japan products. And so if they see listings that where it’s maybe obvious that it’s not like it’s done by like whether it’s China, whether it’s usa, maybe it’s not that great of a thing. Because like in America, we, we have that of course. So as a buyer, you look at some list and you’re like, like, ah, this, the English is not even correct. Like, but I don’t care. I’m still gonna buy it. You know, it’s got five stars and it’s cheap. I’ll get it. But is that the same in Japan or do they really favor more domestic products more than like, say USA or Germany or something like that?

Nick:

The Japanese love domestic products. They love Japanese made products. But Japan has been I wouldn’t say been in a recession for 30 years, but the, the country hasn’t really grown in 30 years. So Japanese people aren’t as rich as people think they are. They were, they were rich 30 years ago. But it’s pretty much the same now. Japanese want high quality, they want the best products, they want Japanese products, and they want cheap products. And unfortunately that just doesn’t match up. So and I wouldn’t say that they don’t like foreign brands. They love foreign brands. I think if they were to choose to a Japanese brand, they would choose a Japanese brand in most circumstances, to be honest. But there aren’t very many Japanese brands that are competing on Amazon, to be honest. The price is just unfortunately too high. So foreign brands, they do really like what they really, really hate is made in China.

Nick:

And I think the difference in America, for example, if it was made in America, in America, American buyers would like that. But if they knew something was made in China, they wouldn’t really say too much about it. In Japan, they tend to buy the cheap product, but it’s clearly made in China. And they’ll just, they’ll just they’ll just leave it the worst review and the review will. But we’ll just say basically in Japanese, of course it’s made in China. That phrase in Japanese, I just keep seeing again and again and again in reviews for products, I’m looking to buy myself. People say, of course, it like, it broke, of course it’s made in China it wasn’t that good. Of course it’s made, it’s just this, this China bashing is absolutely insane. So there’s no buying is the reason why you don’t wanna translate your listing,

Bradley Sutton:

But they’re still buying.

Nick:

I know. Cause they bought the cheap one. If they wanted to buy the good one, they could have bought the Japanese one, but they didn’t wanna pay the money. So,

Bradley Sutton:

So then, so then would a kind of great opportunity be like, Hey, regardless of where we’re from, whether we’re from China, whether we’re from USA, whether we’re from you know, Germany, UK, we get that same product from that same factory in China, but we figure out how to make a nice optimized for the Japanese people listing where maybe I use a native translator or something and they might not even know it’s made in China. Would that be the opportunity then?

Nick:

Yes, that’s the opportunity. So basically you want to, you want to use branding. So you don’t ever want to have a bad listing. Cuz if you, if you, even if you’re like an American brand and you have a listing done badly, and it kind of reads like it was written by a Chinese seller, that’s not good. But if you, if you show that you’re a Chinese brand, if you’re a Japanese, sorry, an American brand, a UK brand, a German brand, they love that. That’s good. Have a proper listing, make sure it’s written properly. And then you are well away. Okay. As I come back to the fact, Japanese people do love Japanese brands, but there really aren’t very many com competitively priced on Amazon. They don’t have that choice. But they’re willing to pay more for brands, generally. Amazon, Japan is not a great place for expensive products. It’s not a high kind of, it’s not a high ticket marketplace to be honest. So products are around about the, well, I’m to say about 40 bucks. Around the 30 mark is, is 20 to 30 is is very, very good on Japan. You’ve got a good product, you’ve got good branding, you show that you’re a foreign brand. It’s really only China. It’s a problem. I never see them comment, oh, of course it’s a UK brand. Of course it’s a foreign brand.

Bradley Sutton:

What is that in Japanese? What, what do they actually say?

Nick:

(Speaking in Japanese)

Bradley Sutton:

(Speaking in Japanese) Okay, I got it.

Nick:

Which means, of course is Chinese. And you’ll, you’ll see that comment. I, I did a presentation a couple of years ago and I actually printed out a bunch of these reviews I just found looking for products myself. I mean, it’s clearly, it’s clearly a Chinese product. It’s clearly, and iPhones, I think Japan still has the highest share of iOS to Android. And everybody knows they’re made in China, but still, because it’s an American brand, it totally passes. So that would be a good example of if you got your branding right, it’s not a problem if it’s made in China, because they do know that. And that’s why it annoys me when you see the reviews, because it was obvious if you, if you spent 10 bucks on something and the next, and then like another Japanese version is 40 bucks, you’ll be able to work it out, you know?

Gary:

Yeah. And if I can just add to that, I think the perfect example of Japanese consumers, like their attitudes towards Chinese products is with Daiso,  like the hundred yen or the dollar shop. I mean, most all of those products are made in China, but that’s still the most popular shop in the shopping mall. Everyone’s getting all of their kitchen stuff, all their bathroom stuff there. And maybe like some of them are gonna break, but most of them people are perfectly happy with. Yeah. So I think it’s like what Nick said, and so long the quality is good. Like the, the branding, the marketing, I mean, mainly in China or not. I mean, of course people like would prefer their own made in their own country. But like, people are very pragmatic, I find like looking for reasonable type products. I think that’s, that’s you know, one of the, the keys to the Japanese consumer mindset,

Bradley Sutton:

You know, speaking of listings Gary like you’ve lived there for a while. Like, are you, can you read Hiragana and Kanji now?

Gary:

I’m, I mean, I’m still working on it. I’m still learning it. But I think that the beauty of selling in Japan is I’m selling on Japan, even though  I’m totally not fluent in Japanese. Yeah. I mean, I’m, maybe I can know enough to order food in a restaurant, but you know, those nuances, like, I’m still not there yet. But I have a Japanese virtual assistant she helps out and I’ve hired an agency to help localize the listings into Japanese. So even if you don’t speak Japanese like me, I mean, you can still sell into Japan. Right. I think it’s like a lot of people are just like scared of these challenges, but I think we always can find ways around them. And as an entrepreneur, if you can get past these challenges, like the same challenges that kept everybody’s else out now it’s like a moat around your business. Yeah. Cuz most people they’re not willing to to overcome that. So but yeah, I’m, I’m still working on my Japanese man. I, I gotta get better with

Bradley Sutton:

That. Well, the reason I’m asking is you just mentioned you’re moving into a place and you’re buying tons of stuff on Amazon for your new place. So how are you searching? Like is there like, English character mode of Japan? Like for example in America? Yes. People can switch the amazon.com to Spanish or something and then translate. So is that like how you as a foreigner or as an English speaker are shopping?

Gary:

Okay. So I lived in Japan for like over two and a half, almost three years. Now. When I go to Amazon, I’m ashamed of this, and Nick is probably gonna laugh at me, but I just turn on English mode, I just search in English. I can find my rice cooker. I can find like my whatever. Right? But the other thing is, I have a Japanese virtual assistant. So, and she’s a Japanese mom, and you know, I can ask her, okay, so we’re moving to a little Japanese Tokyo apartment. Can you recommend the nice refrigerator to get, I, I can’t get like a gigantic one. It’s not gonna fit. Right. So she talks to her friends and she makes recommendations to me. I’m like, okay, let’s just go with that. You know, I’m not gonna spend hours into that. So, I mean, I think it’s like as entrepreneurs, right? We’ve gotta think creatively outside the, outside the box, you know? And but yeah, that’s what I do.

Bradley Sutton:

PPC costs, I remember back in the day, whoever I talked to who was selling Japan is like, oh my goodness, it’s so cheap compared to like America. And I American prices have kind of skyrocketed. Is that Nick or, or whoever? Is that still kind of like the case where if you’re comparing apples to apples cost per click is less in Japan due to less competition?

Nick:

Yes.

Bradley Sutton:

I love to hear it.

Nick:

So a couple of things. So one, PPC cost are definitely lower. I sell in a lot of marketplaces, and Japan is by far the cheapest. And the second thing is that kind of coming back to what we were saying, half the foreign sellers are Chinese, well, half the sellers are half of the third party sellers are Chinese. A lot of them are brands. So they don’t have the branded spots. So the accounts that we run, the first thing we always do is to run the the sponsored brand ads, a headline ad, because you have to have brand registry for that. And lots of lots of sellers don’t have that.

Bradley Sutton:

Now. I remember a few years ago there was just one small thing, like I didn’t, I don’t have to, like you said, I don’t have to have a company or bank account, but do I have to have like an agent or something like that of, of a, who’s like my, I don’t know if it was an importer of record or something,

Gary:

The importer of record. Right.

Bradley Sutton:

Okay. Can you talk about, about what that is and, and how difficult or easy it is to get that?

Nick:

So there was a big crackdown about two years ago, I think, where a lot of the goods coming into Japan, the customer’s office were stopping them and were charging sellers based not on the shipping invoice value, which is obviously the cost of goods for anyone importing it. But they were, they were charging duty based on the selling price of the goods. Cause they, they were claiming that the goods were basically going directly to the customer. So the customer buying on Amazon is essentially the person importing it. So duty needs to be paid on the selling price. So if it’s 10%, it’s 10% of 30 bucks, whatever, not your cost of goods. So there was a big crackdown. If you were based in Japan, there wasn’t a problem. So we were kind of caught up in this crackdown.

Nick:

We had to submit lots of documents every time we had sea shipments coming in. Air was always a lot easier. We didn’t ever have to pay those higher prices cause we are based in Japan. But it did cause problems for a lot of foreign sellers recently. And there are kinda ways to get around it, by the way, but you need to speak to somebody who is familiar with importing into Japan. Don’t use a company that says they can do Japan. They probably can do Japan, but they’re not gonna do it. It’s gonna cost you more money.

Bradley Sutton:

What are some other differences of selling Japan or some kind of like quick hitting strategies that you can give people who are, Hey, I’m ready to go and, and sell in Japan. What do I need to do to succeed?

Gary:

I think one of the differences is when it comes to compliance and testing for products that you import into Japan, because Japan has their own set of compliance laws. I I don’t mean Amazon, Japan, I mean like Japan customs. So for example one of the products that I’m selling in the US is a kitchen product. And then anything that touches food, that’s, so in Japan, you have to have compliance testing done. And then it can’t just be any laboratory. It has to be like a, especially Japanese customs approved laboratory. So you have to make sure you find the right laboratory to do that testing. I think that’s when important.

Bradley Sutton:

So like a charcuterie board it touches food. Like, would, would that even that I would have to get yes approval. Wow.

Gary:

Yeah.

Bradley Sutton:

I sell charcuterie boards in America. I don’t have to do anything but that’s it. That’s that’s good to know. Yeah,

Gary:

Yeah, yeah. So yeah, so you wanna sell in Japan, you gotta make sure that it will pass the test with a compliance. And the, I think the other thing, like something else that not a lot of sellers are aware of is, like, in Japan, like the peak seasons, like, there’s differences. You know, it’s not like the US with like Christmas time. You know, there’s like other seasons in Japan that could be very popular. You know, one of the products that I sell is like an outdoor, like kids’ toy product. And then I was very surprised that it, I thought it would be very popular in the summertime when the weather’s nice. But actually it’s very popular around New Year’s because culturally Japan has like this thing they do around you know, they, the school kids do around New Year’s and they, they use this product. So you gotta kinda like dig a little bit deeper below the surface. I mean, the tools are great, but I mean, don’t just rely on tools. You gotta go little one step. You succeed,

Nick:

To break it down. So we’ve kind of been through pretty much everything, but to kind of just put everything together. First of all, check if the product sells in Japan. So Helium 10, check there, look on Google, look on YouTube, see how your product will be used. Get an idea. Okay. That’s the first thing. I can see that the product is used in Japan. I’ve got a chance here. Second thing, speak to an importer. Make sure if you’ve got anything you need to do for your products, that’s the second thing. Really, really important. You clear that. Make an account that’s really, really quick transfer brand registry really, really quick. It’s the same as doing any other marketplace. Then get your listings made up by somebody who knows what they’re doing. I can’t stress enough the, yeah, I mean, because we help sellers.

Nick:

We’ve had a lot of people who have had translations done by professional translation agencies, but they didn’t know Amazon and it just wasn’t done right. Didn’t have the keywords in the right place. So make sure you, you use a translator who knows Amazon and then send your products and that’s it. So check if they sell, speak to an importer and find out if there’s any regulations. Get a good listing, a sound listing made. Put Japanese on your images over the last, for the last two years. Now you can have images per country, which is really, really useful. And then send and sell. I mean there’s, that’s, that’s it. That’s, that’s the most important stuff to do for the brands we do. I kind of like to have an actual image one on one of the images or in a plus that says we’ve got Japanese support and then a photo of a Japanese support person. Cause that really helps Japanese people to relax about a product knowing that they’ll be able to speak to somebody in Japanese about it. But that’s not absolutely required. But you can get to va wages in Japan are very, very cheap. So you can look up on any of the usual sites to get a VA for Japan.

Bradley Sutton:

We’ve alluded to this event happening in April. Can you give us a date and give us an overview of what this is about, who should go how people can, can find out about it, et cetera?

Gary:

Yeah, definitely. So you know, Nick and I were talking because we’re kind of like Amazon buddies here in Japan and you know, Nick has helped me a lot. And I think if someone like me can do it, even if I don’t speak Japanese and even Amazon Seller Central in Japan as English. So you don’t even need Japanese language to navigate seller central. So I think that’s why I think it’s a great opportunity right now. And I’m putting together this conference. I mean, it’s basically the first ever Amazon selling conference held in Japan, and nobody’s ever done this before. And it’s gonna be in April, April 4th to the fifth. It’s a two day in-person event in Tokyo. And it’ll be two full days with talks from eight figure sellers selling in Japan, seven figure sellers like Nick. And we talked about an import of record.

Gary:

We’ll have a legit Japanese import of record working with hundreds of sellers. So they can ask me, they can answer any question you have about that, and they’ll be in the room with you. We’ll have compliance testing experts to answer your questions about char boards. You know, what kinda exact tests do you need? And we’ll have Japanese localization experts, we’ll have basically A to Z everybody PPC experts, SEO experts, and you know, people like Nick, right? People that have done it before we didn’t even talk about like external marketing in Japan. I mean, like, Facebook isn’t very popular. There’s another Japanese native you know, marketing platform that sellers are using to build an audience to get more reviews, right, to launch, to right.

Gary:

There’s all these unique strategies about Japan. So that’s why we we created this event. And yeah, I even we’re talking with Amazon both Amazon, US and Japan, and you know, they they’re getting involved. They’re sending someone from their Amazon ads department to fly all the way from Seattle to Tokyo to teach everybody here. And then, so I think it’s, it’s gonna be an awesome event. First one of its kind, and if you really, I mean, if you’re already selling in Amazon US, if you already selling in Amazon eu if you Japan you can carry over your reviews. I don’t actually mentioned this. This is like one of the big you know, selling points, right? If you have, like, your listing has like 2000 reviews in the us, you can bring that over into Japan instantly.

Gary:

And you know, from day one zero sales history, your listing has 2000 reviews, right? And then the reviews threshold in Japan is a lot lower Yeah. Than it is in the US saying eu. So you’ll from day one, you’ll be at an advantage. And that means lower PPC costs, you have the social proof, so you’re gonna hit the ground running. So we think it’s a great opportunity right now in Japan. And we also have some cool stuff be beyond just the conference, like in the evening. It’s gonna be during the, the saura the cherry blossom season. So I’m sure Bradley, you are very familiar with this. You know, in, in Tokyo you know, after work, like, it’s kind of like a custom for like salary men, salary women to go to the local park underneath the cherry blossom trees at night and go drinking. So we’re gonna deliver this experience, Japan experience. You can’t get anywhere else in the world and

Bradley Sutton:

Only in April. It is not like you can go anytime of the year in Japan to do this.

Gary:

Exactly. I mean, I think there’s maybe just a few week windows. So we time the conference to coincide with that. So there’s gonna be a cherry blossom social night out in a Tokyo Park. We’ll have Japanese sake whiskeys sushi bento boxes, good times. And that way you can both talk to other sellers other speakers and get a flavor for Japanese culture that is you can’t get anywhere else in the world. So we’re, we put a lot of planning, a lot of thought into this. And we hope to, to invite sellers you know, that are serious about selling in Japan to, to join us in April in Tokyo.

Bradley Sutton:

Awesome. So guys, if you want more information, go to h10.me/japan. That’ll take you to the website, h10.me/japan. Andjust you know, Nick what is, what is the current situation about getting to Japan? Obviously, Japan was one of the last countries in the world to, to finally open up to tourism. I just went there a couple months ago. I already forgot what I had to do. It wasn’t like anything major. I know I didn’t have to quarantine or anything, but I, it wasn’t like five years ago where I could just show up at the airport and show them my passport and, and I’m good to go. Like, there is a couple of, of entry requirements, but how is it now in February, March, April? What the situation?

Gary:

I actually just returned to Japan about three and a half weeks ago with my family. So my wife and I, and our four year old son. Basically, I mean, this could change because this is changing rapidly. The government, the Japanese immigration wants to check to make sure you’re vaccinated. So there’s this online website that you have to go through to upload I think your, your vaccination form. And then after that, you just get a QR code on your phone. So once you enter, once you land in like Tokyo, the airport, you have to like show them that code and then you go through custom. So it is gonna take a little longer, guys, I don’t know with Bradley when you came in, but there was a long line with my friends that came just the last couple weeks there was a long line at the airport. But beyond that, once you get through, I mean, that’s it. I mean, there’s no quarantine, there’s nothing in yeah, I mean, people still wear masks on the street, but you know, if you sit down in cafe everyone’s just like just working. They’re talking with their friends just like as normal. So there’s no quarantine at all.

Bradley Sutton:

Cool. Cool. And guys just I think we might have alluded it to earlier, but the exchange rate is insane right now. Like when I went to Japan a few weeks ago, like, I don’t remember in the last 30 years probably it being that cheap for me, like when I was just doing my current.

Gary:

Hasn’t been that low.

Bradley Sutton:

I was just like, what am I like in one of these countries that you would think is like a cheaper one. Like, cuz you know, I think we usually think Japan is like, oh, it’s more expensive than everything, but I was like, taxis and trains and the vending machines, like everything. I was like, this is so cheap. Whenever I use my currency calculator, I was like, this is crazy. So guys, this is a, a great time to go to Japan for sure. Now completely switching gears here, but this is something I’ve been asking a lot of our guests, if not all of the guests here in 2023, something new is just we’re all in the e-commerce world and, and it’s important that sometimes we have like outlets to, to kind of like, you know unplug ourselves from e-commerce, whether it’s hobbies whether it’s diet, exercise, something to stay healthy healthy mind, healthy body. Both of you live in Japan. Talk to me about your habits. Like, do you guys, do you, what do you do for fun over there in Japan? What do you do? To stay, to stay fit? I think like my weight is probably both of you guys combined. So obviously you guys are doing something better than me. I’m beyond my former sumo weight now, but anyways, go ahead.

Gary:

I’ve, I’ve actually been slacking guys because I literally, like three weeks ago, we just moved our whole family. So we’ve been apartment hunting. What do I do to stay fit? I mean, back when I lived in Okinawa, I had downtime. I would go running and I would go, like, I would even go like snorkeling on the beach. But yeah, in Tokyo, I can’t even find time to go to a proper gym. So I can’t really answer that.

Bradley Sutton:

Hobby, it doesn’t have to be about fitness

Gary:

Hobby. I’m actually, I’m learning Japanese and one of my good friends, I asked him, how do you learn Japanese? He’s like, watch tv. So I’m watching like, I’m bingeing on like, Netflix, Japanese, like midnight diner, like all those, like those like, like, he’s like, hi, like food shows that, that that’s me right now.

Bradley Sutton:

Love it. Nick, what about you?

Nick:

I go to the gym a lot. I get up at five I go to the gym, come back, take my dog for a walk at the park, and I’m still in the office by nine. So I go to the gym about five times a week, and I kite board if everybody knows me. I’ve, I’ve been in the kite boarding industry or wasn’t industry for many years. And I still kite on the weekends. So yeah, I’m fairly active, I guess.

Bradley Sutton:

Cool. All right, guys. Remember, wherever you, wherever you’re listening to this in the world, whether you’re in Japan, America, Timbuktu have, find a hobby, guys, don’t, don’t, don’t be that person who, who just sits in front of their computer 16 hours a day and, and optimizes your listening you know, all day long. You, you gotta have something to kind of like unplug yourself from work. And so mental health is, is important as is physical health. So get some get some hobbies and, look forward to see what you, you’re gonna find there. Gary in in Tokyo, it’s definitely a lot to do in that, in that area. All right, guys. Well, I’m not sure yet if I ca am going to make it, I’m actually gonna be spending a month in Japan sometime in April or May.

Bradley Sutton:

I’m just not sure if I can make it that early to this show. I’m gonna take my family, take my parents as well. But you know, I’d say right now there’s a 50 50 chance you guys, if you guys go to the, this conference in Japan, you might see me there. But regardless if I go or not, I highly recommend checking this out because as we’ve talked about on this show opportunity in Japan is ripe. And it’s not gonna be like that forever, guys it’s, it’s, it’s going to get harder just like any marketplace does as it matures. So it’s a great time to, to get into it. And so check out this conference and so you can kind of like have a crash course in, in learning what is needed to be successful there. So any last words of wisdom from either of you before we go?

Gary:

I think Bradley, what you said, right? Yeah. I mean, we’re like, we’re the first movers. I mean, there’s so few sellers in Japan compared to the rest of the world. I mean, and nobody’s, I mean, people have told me like, they’re coming because they can’t find this stuff online, guys. They’re, they’ve been spending months in every single partner that you need, like the compliance testing, the localization, experts, other sellers, they’re all gonna be there and then like-minded entrepreneurs. So I think that’s gonna be huge. And I think the other thing is we hope that Bradley can come I hear you’re famous for doing like some Zumba like class or something. Well, we would love to have that here in Tokyo. That would be amazing. Maybe we can do it under the cherry blossoms. I mean, that, that be like a viral thing on.

Bradley Sutton:

I’ll see if I can put on an edit into this video. 15 years ago, I actually did, I did like a masterclass tour of Zumba in Japan, and I did a flash mob on the streets of Tokyo there. So Amazon seller flash mob. Let’s do it.

Gary:

There you go. 2023. Let’s do it.

Bradley Sutton:

All right, well (Speaking in Japanese). So maybe I’ll see you guys in Japan and thank you so much for lending your knowledge, and I hope I hope you know you guys have success in all you do. And I hope this conference, I know this conference will be, be successful. So hopefully I’ll see you there.

Gary:

All right. Thanks so much, Brad.


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