At the same time that smartphone penetration is increasing, more and more people are actually shopping through the Internet.You have probably shopped on the Internet at least once, mainly on e-commerce sites such as “Amazon” and “Rakuten”.
Did you know that you can use your smartphone to purchase products from a variety of stores via the Internet, and that you can actually buy or sell products not only in Japan but also overseas?
Selling products overseas via the Internet is called “cross-border EC,” and the scale of the cross-border EC market is currently expanding rapidly.
In Japan, the expansion of the market size is currently driving various companies to enter the cross-border e-commerce market, and at the same time, companies are looking for human resources to conduct cross-border e-commerce business.
In this issue, we will introduce the structure and flow of cross-border e-commerce and the skills required by companies engaged in cross-border e-commerce for those who have foreign language skills such as English and Chinese.
What is cross-border EC?
First of all, let us introduce what kind of business cross-border EC is.If you are interested in working in cross-border EC and do not yet know much about it, please check it out.
Cross-border EC = online shopping for overseas customers
Cross-border EC, as mentioned at the beginning of this article, refers to the business of selling products to overseas customers via the Internet.An easy-to-understand example would be “Amazon,” a leading U.S. e-commerce site.
Amazon serves as a shopping mall within the Internet, and several companies have stores within the mall called Amazon.There are also two major ways to conduct cross-border EC: an individual can open an EC site and conduct cross-border EC.
EC mall store openings are the mainstream
As mentioned above, there are two major types of cross-border EC. The first is the “EC mall storefront” method.
A platform that is structured like a single shopping mall-like e-commerce site with a number of tenants, such as Amazon in the U.S., which we introduced earlier, is called an EC mall.
Searching for the product you want in an e-commerce mall will display similar products from various brands, and you can check the details and word-of-mouth to purchase the product of your choice.
The other method is the “in-house e-commerce site opening type.
As the name implies, the “own site” type is a method in which a company opens its own e-commerce site.
Since you will be setting up your site from scratch, you can configure everything from the site layout to sales methods and payment methods as you wish.
There are two types of cross-border e-commerce, but the method of opening a store in an e-commerce mall is gaining popularity because it can be expected to attract a high number of customers and is familiar to local customers.
Cross-border EC Flow
Next, we will introduce the flow of cross-border EC. By understanding how cross-border EC flows, we can better understand what kind of people companies are looking for and what kind of work they need to do.
For the sake of clarity, we have divided the flow into six steps and will introduce them in detail.
If you are interested in getting involved in cross-border EC work in the future, please check it out.
STEP 1: Building the foundation.
The first step is to decide “in which country” and “what to sell.
At the time of Step 1, you are not yet actually doing cross-border EC, but this is actually the most important step in the preparation process.
If you do not have a clear target country and product to sell, you are more likely to fail along the way.Conduct on-site research or use Internet social networking sites to find out whether there is demand for the products you want to sell in the target country and whether the products are safe to sell according to the laws and regulations of the country.
STEP2 Confirmation of purchase price of goods
Once the foundation is set, decide where you will actually purchase the products you will sell.Basically, bulk purchasing tends to be less expensive than individual purchases.
Also, transportation and storage costs, as well as customs duties, should be thoroughly investigated at this point.
STEP 3: Decide which e-commerce mall to open a store.
Once you have decided on the products to sell, the next step is to decide which e-commerce mall to open a store in.Depending on which e-commerce mall you choose, various aspects such as screening criteria for opening a store , ability to attract customers, and payment methods will differ.
As before, this one also requires careful research in advance.This is a very important process that will determine future sales, so take your time and choose carefully.
Once all the preparations are in place, you can actually open a store and start selling your products .
STEP5 Order to Delivery
As soon as the order is received, prepare for delivery as soon as possible.The speed and care with which the order is processed and shipped is the key to whether or not I will repeat the order in the future.
Transactions with cross-border EC customers do not end when delivery is completed.This is a task that everyone tends to forget, but it is no exaggeration to say that aftercare is the most important task.
The Chinese, in particular, place great importance on the speed of response to their inquiries.Be sure to have a system in place at the preparatory stage to communicate in the local language and to respond to all e-mails, chats, and phone calls.
Skills required by companies engaged in cross-border e-commerce
Next, we will introduce the skills and personnel sought by companies engaged in cross-border e-commerce.
Even if you have heard of cross-border EC but do not know what it actually entails, or if you would like to work overseas but wonder what kind of work cross-border EC entails, the above flowchart of cross-border EC should give you some idea of what kind of work it entails.
Below, we will introduce some of the actual cross-border EC jobs available in the Tokyo area and the skills and talents that companies are looking for, so if you are considering a career change, please take a look.
Knowledge of cross-border e-commerce and the countries to which you will be selling
One of the skills required by companies engaged in cross-border e-commerce is “knowledge of cross-border e-commerce.
Naturally, if you have knowledge of cross-border EC and experience in doing business in the target countries, this will give you an advantage in the hiring process. Since the cross-border EC market fluctuates on a daily basis and target countries must be researched constantly, it is recommended that you have worked in cross-border EC-related jobs in the past.
However, this does not mean that you are not good at cross-border EC work because you are new to it. In addition to this article, the Internet nowadays offers a wide range of knowledge.
If you are interested in working related to cross-border EC, you should acquire basic knowledge about cross-border EC.
Multilingual skills are one of the skills that companies engaged in cross-border e-commerce are looking for. If you can speak the language of the target country at a business level, you will have a very good chance of being hired.
In many cases, essential skills are required with regard to China and English, which are handled in China and the U.S., where the cross-border EC market is large.
And don’t forget ‘Japanese language ability’. Please note that you will be required to have more than basic Japanese language skills, not only for conversations with Japanese people in the company, but also for opportunities to deal with non-Japanese people in Japanese.
Basic computer skills
One of the skills required by companies engaged in cross-border e-commerce is “basic computer skills. Most of the work related to cross-border EC is done via the Internet, i.e., through PCs and smartphones.
Data entry and tabulation as well as basic use of Word and Excel are required as essential skills.
If you are good at working with computers, cross-border EC work is recommended.
Familiarity with or interest in the product being sold
One of the skills that companies engaged in cross-border e-commerce seek is “familiarity with and interest in the products they sell.
It will be advantageous if you are knowledgeable about or interested in the products of the company you wish to work for, such as knowledge of the products sold by the company, knowledge of the products of its competitors, or impressions of the products when actually using them. It is not an essential skill, and of course you can learn it after you start working, but it will give a good impression if you have it from the beginning.
It is also recommended that women who like cosmetics choose to work for a company that sells cosmetics through cross-border e-commerce, for example.
We introduced the structure and flow of cross-border EC, as well as the skills required by companies engaged in cross-border EC.If you have basic knowledge of cross-border EC, computer skills, and speak multiple languages, you are very well suited for cross-border EC work.
If, in addition to this, you have a passion and knowledge of the company’s philosophy and the products the company sells, please consider changing jobs.