Apex Blog

Consumer Industry

In the digital age, with the rise of online shopping and e-commerce, companies worldwide have begun to move away from a solely “brick and mortar” shopping experience and expanded onto the web opening up their own online shops. While overseas many consumer brands have already picked up on the trend, consumer and luxury brands in Japan have been slow adopters. Even well-known luxury and cosmetics brands in Japan are missing an e-commerce site in their sales pipeline. We sat down with our Consumer & Luxury team to better understand why there is a lack of digital marketing and e-commerce people in Japan, what the market is like right now, and how you can tell if a position in this industry would be the right move for you in the next step of your career.


History of Luxury and E-Commerce

Before we look back, it’s important to remember that adoption of an e-commerce site for many consumer brands has been slow. This is still a very young division in many corporations, having only come into existence about 10 years ago. Unlike the rest of the world, there were many factors that inhibited Japan from becoming an early e-shopping nation. There were a myriad of reasons why including people not trusting online stores, Japan still being a largely cash-based society, and many people didn’t have mailboxes to even receive bought items.

So when it finally did catch on, one of the biggest problems was companies didn’t quite know what kind of skills a good e-commerce person should have or where in the organization they would fit in. In the past, they sought after professionals who had knowledge of IT language skills, for example HTML, CSS, JavaScript, to launch these stores and they would then work alongside the digital marketing team in designing and developing the strategy for the brands and products in the store.

Fast-forward about 4-5 years to present day, these e-commerce people now work alongside the sales and sales strategy teams to understand buyer behaviors and product sales. The role has also expanded into not only the local market for each geographic region, but also working along-side the global HQ to do sales forecasting.


What kind of People do this?

The issue still remains about what kind of core skills a person who is looking to get into digital sales and e-commerce in the luxury and consumer industry should have. One of the issues is that until only recently, this job didn’t even exist. The right person no longer needs to have a core focus on IT and programming, but rather understand SEO, how to analyze and forecast sales for products, and look at data points on the website and start to understand the sales story. For example, why consumer will put an item into their cart, but not actually purchase them. Solving these kinds of problems are the norm for someone in e-commerce. Of course some technical know-how is a benefit and experience launching your own e-commerce site is a huge plus.

Because this role is still in its infancy experience is rare. Our consumer team echoed that people applying for these positions should go in with the mindset “Can I do it?” rather than “Have I done it?”

If you sound like someone who is interested and has the sales, SEO, and technical know-how to take on a career in digital marketing or e-commerce don’t hesitate to reach out to us on our Career Consultation Page.


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