THE BRIDGE

tag ecommerce

In conversation with two up-and-coming Japanese e-commerce founders

SHARE:

This is a part of our coverage of B Dash Camp Fukuoka 2013. On day two of B Dash Camp 2013 in Fukuoka, the final session featured a discussion of e-commerce, with a two interesting guests: Shota Horii CEO, Fablic Inc. Kakiyama Takehiro, the founder and CEO of Flutterscape Moderator: Yusuke Tanaka, senior vice president at Yahoo Japan Commerce born on mobile Fril is a pretty fascinating service in that it created exclusively for mobile. Horii-san explains that they target female users, encouraging them to sell their unwanted clothes on via the Fril flea market, which lives entirely in their smartphone app. They target primarily 20 year olds who might not have a lot of money, but still want to buy clothes. But interestingly, these same women have a lot of unwanted clothes in their closet, and Fril offers them a way to become ‘shops’ in addition to just shoppers. They can upload pictures quickly to via the smartphone platform, an action that was really tedious in the days of feature phones. He notes that the C2C market in Japan is still small, but for this demographic, other online services like Yahoo Auction might be a little too complex. So…

IMG_8616This is a part of our coverage of B Dash Camp Fukuoka 2013.

On day two of B Dash Camp 2013 in Fukuoka, the final session featured a discussion of e-commerce, with a two interesting guests:

  • Shota Horii CEO, Fablic Inc.
  • Kakiyama Takehiro, the founder and CEO of Flutterscape
  • Moderator: Yusuke Tanaka, senior vice president at Yahoo Japan

Commerce born on mobile

Fril is a pretty fascinating service in that it created exclusively for mobile. Horii-san explains that they target female users, encouraging them to sell their unwanted clothes on via the Fril flea market, which lives entirely in their smartphone app. They target primarily 20 year olds who might not have a lot of money, but still want to buy clothes. But interestingly, these same women have a lot of unwanted clothes in their closet, and Fril offers them a way to become ‘shops’ in addition to just shoppers. They can upload pictures quickly to via the smartphone platform, an action that was really tedious in the days of feature phones.

He notes that the C2C market in Japan is still small, but for this demographic, other online services like Yahoo Auction might be a little too complex. So Fril really fills a nice gap. Interestingly, their team is made of all guys, but they appear to have no difficulties understanding their customer base.

Unique design for a global market

Kakiyama-san is pretty young entrepreneur, but has already turned many heads with his e-commerce service. He graduated from university just back in 2010, and he had a lot of foreign friends who were telling him to do something global. He liked the idea of making something with overseas reach, as well as having global tastes.

It started out as Flutterscape, which may ring a bell with some readers, but about a year ago they shifted gears to offer a B2C service called Monoco which sells designer interior products to a global market. He describes very strong growth, noting that they have about 650 designers on board, coming on at a pace of about 6 or 7 each day. Their site aspires to be fun, occasionally holding limited time flash sales.

Currently Monoco has seven merchandisers, including one in London, one in Bali, and one in New York. He says that having boots on the ground in different regions allows them to meet a variety of great designers.

Both Fril and Monoco are pretty fascinating business ideas, and it will be interesting to see how they both fare in the future.

Tokyo-based web marketing agency to launch Japan’s first ever ‘audience commerce’ platform

SHARE:

See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based web marketing agency Hivelocity has unveiled Japan’s first ever audience commerce platform. It’s called Feedbuy, and it has just opened up pre-registration for membership. The company expects to launch the service around late-April or early-May. For those of you who may not be familiar with it yet, the concept of audience commerce is that the more users spread the word about a product using their social network, the lower the sales price becomes. If the volume of social buzz about the item reaches a certain point, merchants may even give users a 100% discount. We’re told the platform is Japan’s first ever promotion tool using this audience commerce model, where merchants can sell their products on the platform and ask users to help their promotional efforts. Hyvelocity was founded in 2004 by several Japanese web producers, and has been distributing web marketing solutions for companies in partnership with inbound marketing solution provider HubSpot.

See the original story in Japanese.

feedbuyTokyo-based web marketing agency Hivelocity has unveiled Japan’s first ever audience commerce platform. It’s called Feedbuy, and it has just opened up pre-registration for membership. The company expects to launch the service around late-April or early-May.

For those of you who may not be familiar with it yet, the concept of audience commerce is that the more users spread the word about a product using their social network, the lower the sales price becomes. If the volume of social buzz about the item reaches a certain point, merchants may even give users a 100% discount. We’re told the platform is Japan’s first ever promotion tool using this audience commerce model, where merchants can sell their products on the platform and ask users to help their promotional efforts.

Hyvelocity was founded in 2004 by several Japanese web producers, and has been distributing web marketing solutions for companies in partnership with inbound marketing solution provider HubSpot.

feedbuy2

Japanese hit game ‘Puzzle and Dragons’ gets its own online store

SHARE:

As if GungHo Entertainment’s hit mobile game Puzzle and Dragons wasn’t making enough money already, now the title has its own online store where you can buy an assortment of P&D merchandise. Currently in the store you can buy a range of products including plush toys, P&D iPhone cases, and even a P&D coffee mug. Unfortunately the store only delivers to locations within Japan, so overseas fans will have to wait until the company decides to extend this initiative. Of course, supplementing a successful mobile game with brand merchandise is nothing new in the gaming industry. We recently even saw how Finnish company Rovio is pushing its plush toys with lucky draws nationwide in Japan. Puzzle & Dragons recently cracked through the 10 million downloads mark, although to date the game owes the vast majority of those downloads to its home market of Japan. It will be interesting to see if the game can catch on overseas this year after English versions launched in late 2012. For a general introduction to P&D, check out our video overview of the game below. (Via VS Media)

pazudora

As if GungHo Entertainment’s hit mobile game Puzzle and Dragons wasn’t making enough money already, now the title has its own online store where you can buy an assortment of P&D merchandise.

Currently in the store you can buy a range of products including plush toys, P&D iPhone cases, and even a P&D coffee mug. Unfortunately the store only delivers to locations within Japan, so overseas fans will have to wait until the company decides to extend this initiative.

puzzle-dragon-shopOf course, supplementing a successful mobile game with brand merchandise is nothing new in the gaming industry. We recently even saw how Finnish company Rovio is pushing its plush toys with lucky draws nationwide in Japan.

Puzzle & Dragons recently cracked through the 10 million downloads mark, although to date the game owes the vast majority of those downloads to its home market of Japan. It will be interesting to see if the game can catch on overseas this year after English versions launched in late 2012.

For a general introduction to P&D, check out our video overview of the game below. (Via VS Media)

Meet 4 of Japan’s hottest online fashion malls

SHARE:

According to a recent study, the fashion and interior e-commerce market in Japan was about 636 billion yen (about $6.79 billion) in 2012, a 121.5% increase on last year. Many domestic apparel brands join fashion online malls instead of developing and running e-commerce sites on their own. And as a result we’re seeing lots of buzz around these fashion online malls. While it’s likely that brands will have their own e-commerce presences soon enough, the online fashion malls which are currently so popular also have intriguing plans for the future. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the major online fashion malls in Japan (in no particular order), as well as their upcoming plans. 1. Stylife ¶ Rakuten recently acquired Stylife for 1.1 billion yen (about $11,770,000), becoming the biggest shareholder in the company. This is a smart move by Rakuten as it eager to increase its reach into the fashion space. For a long time, what differentiated Stylife from other online fashion malls was its print catalogue, Look!s, that integrated with the online mall, although the company ceased publication of the print version in March of 2012. It is now available online as a web magazine. 2….

According to a recent study, the fashion and interior e-commerce market in Japan was about 636 billion yen (about $6.79 billion) in 2012, a 121.5% increase on last year. Many domestic apparel brands join fashion online malls instead of developing and running e-commerce sites on their own. And as a result we’re seeing lots of buzz around these fashion online malls. While it’s likely that brands will have their own e-commerce presences soon enough, the online fashion malls which are currently so popular also have intriguing plans for the future.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the major online fashion malls in Japan (in no particular order), as well as their upcoming plans.

1. Stylife

Rakuten recently acquired Stylife for 1.1 billion yen (about $11,770,000), becoming the biggest shareholder in the company. This is a smart move by Rakuten as it eager to increase its reach into the fashion space.

For a long time, what differentiated Stylife from other online fashion malls was its print catalogue, Look!s, that integrated with the online mall, although the company ceased publication of the print version in March of 2012. It is now available online as a web magazine.

stylife

2. Magaseek

Just a month or so ago, mobile carrier NTT Docomo snatched up online fashion mall Magaseek, acquiring more than 41.67% of the company’s stock. Magaseek targets female mobile users in their 20s, and its previous owner was general trading company Itochu which still owns 25% of its shares. Similar to Rakuten, NTT Docomo’s plan is to solidify its competitiveness in fashion commerce by cooperating with Itochu, the largest general trade company in the textiles industry.

magaseek

3. FashionWalker

FashionWalker is another online mall which has aspirations of expanding its business to the Asian market, most notably to Korea and Taiwan. To that end, back in November of 2012 it launched an fashion e-commerce service for Korea. Its parent company is ‘World’.

FashionWalker is more content-focused compared to other online malls, creating dedicated sections for fashion stylists to introduce their latest look-books, under the category of ‘Shibuya Style Village‘.

fashion-walker

4. Zozotown

Another fashion online mall that’s accelerating its business in the Asia region is Zozotown (operated by Start Today) which was founded way back in 2004. In addition to zozotown.jp which serves the Japanese market, the company also runs zozotown.com where items can be delivered to 82 countries. In addition to the global online mall, Zozotown will launch ZozoConnect on Feburary 28 where it will introduce international brands — especially brands from Asia — to the world. At the time of launch, the site will focus on five Korean brands, including Bratson.

zozotown-f


This is part of our ‘Japanese internet in-depth’ series (RSS). Stay tuned for more features that aim to explain what makes the internet unique in Japan.

Japanese food delivery site ‘Oisix’ is approved for IPO

SHARE:

Oisix, an online home delivery service for organic vegetables and preservative-free foods in Japan, was approved to be listed on the TSE Mothers market, a stock market for emerging companies. Currently the company’s main shareholders include several VC firms, mail order giant Nissen, and cosmetics producer Shiseido. The IPO is scheduled to take place on March 13th, 2013. Oisix was founded in 1997 by ex-McKinsey consultant Kohei Takashima who started a food delivery service to homes back in 2000. The company saw 12.6 billion yen (approximately $134 million) in revenue with a net profit of 332 million yen ($3.5 million) in the previous fiscal year. The company’s service has won a huge following among housewives and foodies because it provides variety packages of seasonal vegetables and fish products that can be directly delivered from contracted farmers, fishermen, and food producers. On a related note, Radishbo-ya, which is doing business in the same field as Oisix, was acquired by NTT DoCoMo as the telco aims to diversify its revenue stream in mobile commerce sales.

oisix_logo

Oisix, an online home delivery service for organic vegetables and preservative-free foods in Japan, was approved to be listed on the TSE Mothers market, a stock market for emerging companies. Currently the company’s main shareholders include several VC firms, mail order giant Nissen, and cosmetics producer Shiseido. The IPO is scheduled to take place on March 13th, 2013.

Oisix was founded in 1997 by ex-McKinsey consultant Kohei Takashima who started a food delivery service to homes back in 2000. The company saw 12.6 billion yen (approximately $134 million) in revenue with a net profit of 332 million yen ($3.5 million) in the previous fiscal year.

The company’s service has won a huge following among housewives and foodies because it provides variety packages of seasonal vegetables and fish products that can be directly delivered from contracted farmers, fishermen, and food producers.

On a related note, Radishbo-ya, which is doing business in the same field as Oisix, was acquired by NTT DoCoMo as the telco aims to diversify its revenue stream in mobile commerce sales.

oisix_screenshot

Rakuten to take 32.5% stake of fashion commerce site Stylife for $5.37M

SHARE:

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten (JSD:4755) announced today it would acquire Stylife (JDS:3037), one of Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce sites. Stylife is currently listed on the JASDAQ market, a stock exchange for emerging companies, but will be delisted because Rakuten will take 32.5% of the fashion site’s stakes. Two of Stylife’s largest shareholders Burnedest Japan (female clothing) and Parco (a fashion department store) have approved of the acquisition, and will give the shares over to Rakuten. Stylife was founded in May of 2000 as a subsidiary of Japan’s trading coporation Sojitsu [1]. It has been engaged in fierce competition against many rivals such as Zozotown, Fashion Walker, and Magaseek for some time now. Zozontown is leading the pack so far, although Fashion Walker was acquired by Japan’s largest clothing company World Co., Ltd in 2011. NTT DoCoMo recently announced it would subsidize Magaseek in order to expand the telco’s e-commerce revenue stream. It used to be Nichimen when Stylife was launched.  ↩

rakuten_stylife_logo

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten (JSD:4755) announced today it would acquire Stylife (JDS:3037), one of Japan’s largest fashion e-commerce sites. Stylife is currently listed on the JASDAQ market, a stock exchange for emerging companies, but will be delisted because Rakuten will take 32.5% of the fashion site’s stakes. Two of Stylife’s largest shareholders Burnedest Japan (female clothing) and Parco (a fashion department store) have approved of the acquisition, and will give the shares over to Rakuten.

Stylife was founded in May of 2000 as a subsidiary of Japan’s trading coporation Sojitsu [1]. It has been engaged in fierce competition against many rivals such as Zozotown, Fashion Walker, and Magaseek for some time now.

stylife_screenshot

Zozontown is leading the pack so far, although Fashion Walker was acquired by Japan’s largest clothing company World Co., Ltd in 2011. NTT DoCoMo recently announced it would subsidize Magaseek in order to expand the telco’s e-commerce revenue stream.


  1. It used to be Nichimen when Stylife was launched.  ↩

Japanese fashion coordination site iQON raises $3.2M, will boost marketing efforts

SHARE:

See original story in Japanese Vasily, a Tokyo-based startup which runs online fashion coordination service iQON, announced today that it has fundraised a total of 300 million yen (approximately $3.2 million) from Globis Capital Partners, Itochu Technologuy Ventures, and GMO Venture Partners. This is the second round of funds following the previous series A funding of 140 million yen ($1.5 million) in May of 2011. The iQON service allows you to combine clothing and accessories online and share fashion coordination ideas with other users. Each item has a direct link to fashion e-commerce sites where you can purchase it, and the startup will generate revenue from partner sites using an affiliate model. More than 300,000 coordinated outfits have been registered since the service launched in April of 2010, and users are bookmarking their favorites more than a million times a month. The startup introduced its iOS app last February (and an Android app is now also available) which really took off. It even helped some of their partnering e-commerce sites make more than 20 million yen monthly sales through the affiliate traffic. The company focused on service development in the series A phase, but will be intensifying branding and marketing…

mzl.jcpcbvbf.320x480-75 mzl.brhvdfhj.320x480-75

See original story in Japanese

Vasily, a Tokyo-based startup which runs online fashion coordination service iQON, announced today that it has fundraised a total of 300 million yen (approximately $3.2 million) from Globis Capital Partners, Itochu Technologuy Ventures, and GMO Venture Partners. This is the second round of funds following the previous series A funding of 140 million yen ($1.5 million) in May of 2011.

The iQON service allows you to combine clothing and accessories online and share fashion coordination ideas with other users. Each item has a direct link to fashion e-commerce sites where you can purchase it, and the startup will generate revenue from partner sites using an affiliate model. More than 300,000 coordinated outfits have been registered since the service launched in April of 2010, and users are bookmarking their favorites more than a million times a month.

The startup introduced its iOS app last February (and an Android app is now also available) which really took off. It even helped some of their partnering e-commerce sites make more than 20 million yen monthly sales through the affiliate traffic. The company focused on service development in the series A phase, but will be intensifying branding and marketing efforts from now on.

When discussing fashion e-commerce sites in Japan, we can’t help but mention Zozotown (listed on the Tokyo Mothers exchange since 2007). The site is a partner for Vasily rather than a competitor because the two companies have different business models and won’t compete and/or conflict. Vasily’s CEO, Yuki Kanayama, says they will keep working closely with their good partner Zozotown in the future.

IMGP5778
Vasily Inc.’s CEO: Yuki Kanayama