Expanding your business in far-away markets has always been a tough job. On top of that, the Japanese market can surprise you in ways you may never have experienced in Europe or other Western business environments.
- Strategic and on-the-ground sales activity
When you are looking for new partners, it is best to rely on someone who knows the local playing field. At the same time, it is vital that your local representative be able to relate to your product and brand. Picking the right importer or distribution partner can be a lengthy process, and travelling to a distant market for meetings can be tiring and costly. It is therefore imperative to have a dedicated person on the ground who can be there for you when you need them.
- Local management functions
Finding the right partners is only the start – not the end – of your market expansion. A local distributor can open doors and give you access to a group of buyers. But how will they introduce your product to their potential customers and users? And how can you differentiate your product from the local competition? Of course, you could travel again. Or you could task your export manager with calling your distributor occasionally. Time differences and not being present when a customer needs you can become a problem, however. But most of the time, it is the information gap between you and the Japanese side that will give you the most headaches. Miscommunication and differences in expectations can surface quickly, and your project can fail to meet your initial goals. Eventually, you will need someone who is available on-site, can understand both sides, can manage requests and complaints and work towards your goals on your behalf.
- Localised marketing that responds to your customers’ feedback
Sales and marketing go hand in hand. As you proceed with your sales strategy, you will receive continuous feedback and information from your customers. You may find new opportunities and obstacles in your target market. Being resilient and responsive is one of the most critical factors to ensure you win over the long term. For sustainable success, it is essential to have local management representation that can continuously help you refine your strategy and offerings.
The above may be typical observations on doing business in a foreign country. You may also be nodding now, thinking that opening a local branch office could solve everything. But everyone knows that it is very costly and will likely exceed your initial budget.
On-site management services are a new alternative to solve problems like the ones mentioned above. TOO International’s market expansion platform can provide you with all the necessary functions (sales, marketing, consultation and representation) to make your business expansion into the Japanese market successful. Our on-site team can continuously act on your behalf and allocate the necessary amount of time and work when you need it, where you need it, and according to your schedule.
TOO International provides localised and customised services that help develop and manage your markets for food and beverage products in Japan. www.toointernational.com