Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’

Crafty creators converge on HandMade in Japan Fes 2013

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

More than 2,000 creators converged on Tokyo Big Sight this past weekend for HandMade in Japan Fes 2013. While the range in styles and quality was wide, the creators did share one thing in common: they’re part of the virtual shopping/community site Creema, which is basically Japan’s version of Etsy. The inaugural event, while not yet on the scale of Design Festa, is definitely off to a strong start.

Here are a few of the creations on display that caught our eye. (All photos by Mio Yamada.)

Shopping site lets you ask nicely

Monday, July 12th, 2010

buy me somethingFrom cooking sites to hotel plans just for women, Japanese companies are looking for ways to take advantage of women’s purchasing power.  But a new mobile site Oneda.li is skipping the purse strings altogether and going for the power of the “please.” The online mall is designed to make it easy for a woman to entreat a “lover or close friend” to buy her what she wants. “Onedari” means to wheedle or plead for something. The site seems to be a typical online shopping market, with cosmetics, wallets, golf gear and even body jewelry. Instead of a “buy” button, though, it has an “onedari” function that sends an email request to the lucky guy, telling him what the girl wants. If he agrees to buy it, he clicks through and next thing you know, the delivery guy is ringing her doorbell.

So much out there to buy – hard time keeping track of it all? Check out Shopping Pink, which some of you guys will be disappointed to find out is quite literal – it’s a shopping list, and it’s – get this – pink. Cute fonts, lacy edges, glittery backgrounds. It lets you make shopping lists and cross stuff off as you go. In pink. It pretty much does what the name suggests, and, as several semi-satisfied customers have commented, nothing more. You were expecting . . . what?

Still not sure what to pester the love of your life for? “Handbag inspiration” is as close as Mirror, Mirror Handbag. “It’s just like downloading a handbag encyclopedia and shopping guide,” including a pronunciation guide spoken by “native speakers,” to your Apple mobile device, the copy says. It’s a guide, not a shopping tool, so it only has approximate price ranges. But, then, why would you want to worry your pretty little head about that?

Speaking of wheedling, why not follow Pulse on Twitter, and give our Facebook page a thumbs up? Pleeeeeease?

Giving the gift of experience

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Give him something he'll remember

A gift like no other gift

Instead of golf balls or bottles of whiskey for Fathers’ Day, dads in Japan this year may be getting time on the links or a day on a Ducati. “Experience gift catalogs” are gaining in popularity as an easy way to give unusual presents for all occasions.

“I think people are looking for something new,” says Tak Nishimura, CEO of Japan’s first experience gift catalog company. “It’s wonderful to give your mother carnations on Mothers’ day, but I think people like the idea of doing something more original, too. Flowers die. When you give someone an experience, that’s a memory that lasts forever.”

Traditional gift catalogs have been used as a way to give presents to guests at weddings or funerals or prizes to amateur sports winners since the late ’80s. The giver picks a price range and sends the giftee a catalog of items that are all the same pre-specified, undisclosed price. Depending on the brand and price range, the catalogs can include a huge variety of products from fruit, tea, wine and ice cream to jewelry, wallets and designer handbags. Names of popular catalogs, such as “Take Your Choice” and “Ring Bell,” hint at how they work: Pick an item, tell the catalog company, and it’s soon on the doorstep.

As with conventional gift catalogs, the experience giver determines the amount of the present, and the color-coded catalog contains only items that cost that much. At Sow Experience, they go from Blue, in which all the experiences are ¥5,250 to Silver, at ¥52,500. The catalogs, of course, don’t have prices in them. There are catalogs grouped by activity, like dining; occasion, like new baby; or type of recipient, like mother, boyfriend or couple. The activities can be as adventurous or relaxing as the recipient wants, from guided outdoor sports like canyoning and canoeing trips to quieter, safer pursuits like jeweled manicures or time in an oxygen capsule. Fitness buffs could have a yoga or bouldering session, while the fashion-inclined (or challenged) could choose an hour with a stylist. The pottery-throwing lesson is one of the most popular gifts now, Nishimura says. Gifts can be redeemed online.

Nishimura founded Sow Experience in 2005, fresh out of college and looking for a business idea. The concept was becoming popular in England at that time, and he thought it could work in Japan. From the initial 10 experiences, there are now about 100 (the most recent addition is a “doll fashion” class), with 30 new ones added since last year. He says he’s happy to see the swarm of competitors that has sprung up. Beliem, which covers similar options and price points as Sow Experience, will also organize group outings on horseback or cocktail parties at Tokyo’s frozen Icebar, and Iiyu specializes in package trips to hot spring and golf resorts – and ups the ante with experiences for up to ¥105,630.

Nishimura says sales are up 30% over last year, and the company is starting to expand beyond individuals to business-to-business sales: “If someone buys a new car, now, Toyota might give them our experience catalog to choose from as a thank-you present.”

Nishimura says the best part about giving an experience is that it can be the final little push to get someone to do something he’s always wanted to try but never gotten around to. So, what to get the salaryman who has everything? For Fathers’ Day, Sow Experience recommends paragliding, hot stone saunas, a shoe shine or shoe shine lessons. Hey, give a man a shoe shine, and he’s got shiny shoes. Give him shoe shine lessons, and that’s a present he can use for life.

Online shopping sites for women on the go

Friday, June 4th, 2010

KDDI join the rapidly growing cell phone store business

KDDI join the rapidly growing cell-phone store business

Recent years have seen a big boom in cell-phone shopping sites that cater to time-poor women by allowing them to purchase fashionable items while on the go. If you’re a woman with a full-time job in Japan, chances are, you don’t have much time to go shopping and once you get home, you’re often too tired to browse the web, so shopping with your cell phone really makes sense.

Just last month KDDI partnered up with Okinawa Cellular to launch a new site called AU One La Select aimed at women in their 30s and 40s. The site sells kitchen items, cosmetics, bags and cooking utensils, among other things. Customers can buy items either from their cell phones or via their PCs and payment methods are flexible: you can pay either with credit card, cash on delivery or at a convenience store.

AU One La Select joins a growing number of online sites that have sister cell-phone sites. One of  the most popular is fashionwalker.com,which offers a massive range of fashionable items albeit aimed at users younger than Select. Other popular sites include Select Square and Siamese, the latter of which offers an interesting range of imported brands such as TopShop and Primark. Zozoresort is a fun store that sells upscale brands such as Beams and is probably a hit with fashion-hungry girls who live outside the metropolis.

My personal favorite is the shopping site of free magazine Eruca. Commuters pick up the magazine in the morning and can browse the fashions during the day then perhaps buy themselves a little treat after they get home. Eruca has a street-style section and contains discount coupons for bargain hunters.

They aren’t the only magazine with an online store. Elle has an online store with a mobile sister site and earlier this year we mentioned Mobile Closet, which is a cell-phone only magazine that offers popular teen fashions.

As yet, Softbank and DoCoMo do not have any shopping sites of their own but no doubt if AU One La Select does well, executives at these companies might also decide to jump aboard the cell-phone shopping bandwagon.

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