The Unique Japanese Customer Behavior
April 27, 2023 at 10:52 AM
In the world of business, no matter where you are located, understanding customer behavior is central for success. This is especially true when entering a new market, such as Japan. Japanese customer behavior is unique and may differ significantly from what businesses are accustomed to in other regions of the globe. In this article, we will explore 3 factors that make Japanese customer behavior unique and provide insights on how businesses can adapt their strategies to thrive in Japan.
1. High value on brand loyalty
Businesses operating in Japan need to first invest in building trust and long-term relationships with their customers. This is because brand loyalty is highly valued in Japan, and customers are often more inclined to stick with established brands they trust. This is largely due to the Japanese cultural value of “kizuna(絆)," which means bond, or in other words sense of belonging or loyalty. For Japanese customers, the trust and loyalty they have for a brand is built over time through a history of positive experiences and high-quality products. Once this trust is established, customers tend to be loyal to the brand for a long time. Then, the company can have a greater chance of success in the Japanese market.
2. Quality over Price
Japanese customers have high expectations when it comes to product quality. They are willing to pay a premium for products that are well-designed, durable, and reliable. This is driven by the Japanese cultural value of "monozukuri (モノづくり)," which means the art of making things. This cultural value is emphasized in Toyota Motor Corporation, the largest company in Japan. Japanese customers tend to place a high value on products that are well-made and have a high level of craftsmanship. This is particularly true for luxury items such as watches, cars, and fashion items. For businesses operating in Japan, it is essential to focus on delivering high-quality products that meet the expectations of Japanese customers. They should also prioritize customer service, ensuring that they are continuously responsive and attentive to customers' needs and concerns.
3. The Power of Word-of-Mouth
Japanese customers heavily rely on recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues when making purchasing decisions. Businesses looking to succeed in Japan should prioritize building positive word-of-mouth by providing high-quality products, excellent customer service, and memorable experiences. This is partly due to the Japanese cultural value of "omotenashi (おもてなし)," which refers to the spirit of hospitality and customer service. The word consists of 'motenashi (表なし)' and 'motenasu(もてなす)', with a combined meaning of 'treating people with respect and a good attitude to satisfy them without asking anything in return’. In addition, companies should also leverage social media and influencer marketing to boost positive word-of-mouth and increase brand awareness.
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