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The latest edition of "2024": 10 successful examples of cross-border e-commerce! Finding Commonalities and Achieving Results!

With the globalization of business and the weakening of the Japanese economy, "cross-border EC" is currently attracting attention.

By transcending national boundaries, companies can achieve results that were previously unobtainable, as well as discover new needs.

In this article, we will focus on companies in the following five genres as "successful examples of cross-border EC.

  • Cosmetics and beauty industry

  • Apparel industry

  • Furniture and sundry goods industry

  • Food industry

  • Amusement industry

Before you start your business, you should have a better understanding of best practices.

Cross-border EC Success Stories in the Cosmetics and Beauty Industry

First, we will discuss successful cases of cross-border EC in the cosmetics and beauty industry.

  • Shiseido

  • Ya-Man

Let's check out the success cases of these two companies.


Source: Shiseido Co.

Shiseido, one of Japan's leading companies in the cosmetics and beauty industry, has been making significant gains through the use of cross-border e-commerce.

In particular, Shiseido's success in China has been remarkable, and the company has garnered overwhelming support for its cosmetics not only in Japan, but also in China.

One of the reasons for Shiseido's great success is the use of local cross-border e-commerce (Tmall Global).

After localizing its products to meet the needs and skin type of Chinese consumers, Shiseido chose Tmall Global, a Chinese cross-border e-commerce site, rather than its own e-commerce site, as the sales channel for its entry into China.

Tmall Global is similar to Amazon and Rakuten Ichiba in Japan, and we launched a dedicated brand website within this service.

As a result, on November 11, 2021 (the largest annual sales day in China), Shiseido Vital Perfection alone successfully sold 100 million yuan (approximately 1.7 billion yen at the then current exchange rate).

This example of Shiseido shows the importance of using "locally popular e-commerce".


Source: Ya-Man

Ya-Man, which boasts high name recognition in Japan for its hairdressing and beauty products, is another company that, like Shiseido, has successfully entered the Chinese market.

The process of success was similar to Shiseido's, as Ya-Man fully utilized the local e-commerce site, Tmall Global, to win the trust of local consumers.

Through this success, Ya-Man established its first Chinese subsidiary and made a full-scale entry into the Chinese market.

One of the most notable aspects of Ya-Man's cross-border EC strategy is the use of "live commerce.

Live commerce is a sales method similar to the "Internet version of TV shopping," and live videos introducing products in real time were distributed on Tmall Global.

By collaborating with local distributors, we are fully utilizing local cross-border EC, not only for sales, but also for feedback from local consumers.

Cross-border EC Success Stories in the Apparel Industry

The apparel industry is a very large market in the world, and there are many Japanese companies that have succeeded by using cross-border EC.



Let's check out the success stories of the above two companies.


Source: UNIQLO

UNIQLO, now a global apparel company, has made its way around the world by skillfully utilizing cross-border EC.

The most significant feature of UNIQLO's success story is its use of "in-house EC.

Originally, UNIQLO introduced its own EC in Japan, but has since expanded it into a global EC with multilingual support and a variety of payment options.

Another factor in the success of the company's e-commerce strategy is the fact that it has also adopted a strategy that involves physical stores, whereby customers can order products online and pick them up at the store.

This "omni-channel strategy," which transcends the boundaries between offline and online, is effective in showing that the company is attuned to the lives of its users and in winning the hearts and minds of local consumers.


Source: ASICS

ASICS has achieved remarkable results in cross-border e-commerce by expanding its own e-commerce globally.

In order to support globalization, ASICS has adopted a strategy of using "hybris," software that enables the creation of a global e-commerce platform.

Since it is costly to develop EC infrastructure from scratch in-house, the use of such software is worth considering.

On the other hand, utilizing EC malls such as Amazon and Tmall can also significantly cut the cost of opening a store.

It is imperative to consider which is better for your company before embarking on a cross-border EC business.

Cross-border EC Success Stories in the Furniture and Sundry Goods Industry

The following is a summary of successful cases of cross-border EC in the furniture and sundry goods industry.


Source: MUJI

MUJI, a hugely popular brand in Japan, has opened up global sales channels through its physical stores and cross-border e-commerce.

One of the factors behind its success is the "establishment of an environment that is accepted overseas.

For example, in the U.S. and Europe, people are more aware of environmental issues than in Japan, and there is a strong affinity with "sustainability," a marketing strategy consistently adopted by MUJI.

It is important to keep in mind that such marketing strategies that invite "consumer empathy" are one of the factors that make cross-border EC business successful.


Source: Nitori

Nitori is a well-known company in the furniture industry in Japan, and it has been expanding its business mainly in the Asian region through cross-border EC.

The most important feature is that Nitori selects the "right cross-border e-commerce mall for each country" and makes full use of it.

By opening stores on Tmall Global in China, momoMomo in Taiwan, and Amazon in the U.S., the company has adopted a strategy to catch the attention of local consumers while keeping costs low.

It is also interesting to note the synergy between online and offline operations by establishing physical stores, showrooms, and logistics centers in local markets.

Fake Food Japan

Source: Fake Food Japan

Fake Food Japan is one of the companies that has achieved significant growth by selling so-called "food samples" through cross-border e-commerce.

One of the features of the cross-border e-commerce system used was Shopify, which allows anyone from individuals to corporations to easily create a global e-commerce site, and is not mall-style.

The biggest success factors can be summarized as follows

  • Approaching the huge Japanese food market with a niche genre of food samples.

  • Uncovering the need for corporate food samples as well as souvenirs

  • Compact physical size of the product, which is advantageous in terms of logistics.

The marketing strategy has been particularly successful.

Japanese food is now accepted around the world and is about to take root as a "food culture" that is more than just a boom.

By approaching this huge market with a niche genre of "food samples," this is a rare example of a company that has succeeded in gaining a share of the global market while successfully avoiding competition.

Successful examples of cross-border EC in the food industry

The following is a summary of successful cases of cross-border EC in the food industry.

  • Morinaga Milk Industry

  • Meiji

Let's check out the above two companies.

Morinaga Milk Industry

Source: Morinaga

Since Morinaga Milk Industry opened its overseas flagship store as a cross-border EC on Tmall Grobal in 2019, the company has shown stable sales growth every year.

The following factors can be attributed to the success of Morinaga Milk Industry's cross-border EC in China.Smoother sales than general trade by selling via cross-border EC

Providing products that meet the needs of local consumers

Attention to detail for consumers

In the case of the food industry, entry into the market through general trade takes time due to regulations in each country, but through cross-border EC, products can be sold as-is, allowing for a smooth entry into the market.

It is also interesting to note that the company provides follow-up phone calls to new consumers one week after purchase.

Especially in the food industry, consumers are extremely concerned about safety, so putting more effort into customer service than in other industries will lead to success in the cross-border EC business.


Source: Meiji

Meiji, which mainly deals in dairy products, is another company that is using "Tmall Grobal" as a cross-border e-commerce platform to enter the Chinese market.

The reason for Meiji's success in the Chinese market lies in its ability to "accurately read local needs.

Currently, health awareness is on the rise in China, as exemplified by the government-led "Healthy China 2030 Plan.

Against this backdrop, we offered "protein" to general sports enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers, especially female consumers, rather than athletes, and this was a huge hit.

In entering an already established market, the company also attracted attention by working with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders), who have a strong local influence.

In this way, there are successful cases of cross-border EC success through the multiplication of accurate understanding of needs and influencer marketing.

Successful Cases of Cross-border EC in the Amusement Industry

Finally, let us look at Sanrio as a successful example of cross-border EC in the amusement industry.


Source: Sanrio

Sanrio, known for its cute characters such as Hello Kitty and Cinnamoroll, was one of the first companies to use cross-border e-commerce to open up sales channels to Southeast Asia.

In 2018, the company began selling tickets to its amusement parks, Sanrio Puroland and Harmonyland, through the local EC e-jan.

It is crucial for the amusement industry to get people to visit the site and, in doing so, to gain strong engagement from consumers.

In other words, Sanrio has put in place a system that can generate medium- to long-term profits by using cross-border EC to sell "tickets themselves" rather than related goods.

Four Common Features of Successful Japanese Companies in Cross-border EC

We have summarized examples of Japanese companies that have succeeded in cross-border EC, and if we were to identify commonalities among them, we would find the following four points.

  • Provide high-quality products that meet local needs

  • Selection of a cross-border EC site suitable for the local market

  • Marketing strategies optimized for the local market

  • Well-developed customer support

Now that the global market is open to any country, the competitiveness of the product itself is a must.

You must also choose a cross-border EC site that is appropriate for the local market, such as Tmall Grobal for China, or your own EC site to take advantage of synergies if you have your own physical store.

Similarly, it is a good idea to take measures to capture the hearts and minds of local consumers, such as locally-appropriate marketing and customer service.


Global wide business using cross-border EC is gradually becoming popular in Japan.Basically, opening a store in a leading local e-commerce mall is a low-cost and smooth process.

Referring to the success cases dealt with in the article, let's consider the best entry method for your company.

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