iProceed Blog: Shortest path to strategic growth
Nice post (spotted on WebWord about how to make sure products launched in Japan (originating elsewhere) will succeed. Gratifying to see the similarities between what I’ve told my clients in previous projects.
Attention to detail. Do not ever launch a product in Japan if you think you have even a 1% chance of product problems.
Functionality is important, but not without aesthetics. Presentation is everything. Even a $4 bowl of noodles is served in great style at a roadside noodle shop in the middle of nowhere in Japan.
Customer is KING. And I mean it. Being in Japan even for a week will spoil you. No matter how small the business is, the service is impeccable at all times.
Never say NO to the customer. Even when it is impossible, the Japanese believe in trying one more time when a customer says so. By the way, that is also how innovation happens. I was surprised myself how many times we came up with solutions when challenged by our customers (while the technical folks back home continued to complain that it couldn’t be done).
Do your homework. If you think that you can simply sell what you have on the shelves in Japan too, forget it. You will need to understand the unique characteristics of the Japanese market vis-a-vis your products, test your products, customize/localize it, and demonstrate that you are committed to Japan by translating all documents into Japanese, providing customer support in Japanese, and having a full-fledged office in Japan or a Japanese partner.