Monday, January 24, 2011

Retail Packaging in Japan

One of the things I was most excited about for my visit to see our partners Yusuke, Jun, Yuka and Taka in Japan last week was to see some of the differences between the Japanese market and ours in Australia for myself.

One of the key differences is in how products are packaged. Packaging is incredibly important for Japanese consumers. I saw this for myself when buying a hat as a gift for Jodie and a gift certificate for Yuka from the same store (Yuka very kindly let me stay in her apartment while I was in Tokyo). The attention to detail that goes into Japanese packaging is impressive. Jodie's hat was placed with a beautiful gold card inside a protective clear plastic slip, inside a beautiful black bag tied with gold ribbon and finally placed in a beautiful gold bag sealed with gold tape. Yuka's gift certificate was in the form of a plastic card sitting inside high quality thick black folding cardboard, placed inside a beautiful black box wrapped in gold ribbon then placed in a nice store bag sealed with gold tape. The wrapping process took about 10 minutes for each product! Yuka told me that most Japanese women will usually unwrap a gift when they receive it, then wrap it back up as it originally was so they can experience the unwrapping process again later.

Due to the importance of packaging, the Shoes of Prey team in Japan have developed their own Shoes of Prey gift certificate and their own packaging process for Japanese customers. Unlike the rest of the world we ship customer's shoes for Japan from China to the Japanese office where they're repackaged before being couriered to the customer. There are a number of reasons for this:
  • Our boxes are sometimes damaged during international shipping. A Japanese consumer wouldn't accept a damaged shoe box so repackaging in Japan allows us to use new shoe boxes.
  • Our original shoe boxes were sub standard for the Japanese market so the Japanese team sourced their own shoe boxes to use for Japanese customers. We've since switched to a similar shoe box for the rest of the world.
  • Our felt shoe bags can attract dust so Yuka and Taka ensure all the dust is removed from the bags before the shoes are re-boxed.
  • Yuka hand writes a note in Japanese to each customer to be delivered with their shoes. (We write a note in English for customers in other markets, but English wouldn't do for Japan).

We felt that localising our product for other markets would be critical for us to grow, particularly in markets like Japan and it's fantastic to see that in action. We'll also take back with us some of the processes the Japanese team are using and apply them to the rest of the world.


  1. I think you are already operating under a japanese process which is JIT (Just In Time) system! Customer puts in an order, then it is put together quickly and shipped out. Meaning there is minimal waste and overruns.

  2. i havnt heard that one...about Japanese women wrapping their gifts back up again.

    Maybe you should just set up a site that sells nothing but great packaging....w nothing inside.

    'Get that amazing, opening present feeling for a fraction of the price'