June 20, 2020

Japanese Customer: Japanese prefer information search on mobile phones


Photo: Search using a mobile phone



Japanese Customers use the Internet for a lot of their information needs, according to Bloggingstocks.com "search customers in Japan use their mobile devices much more than personal computers to access the Internet". This is true as the majority of Japanese don't have the money, time or access ability to sit at a desk top PC and search. Why you might ask. The typical Japanese consumer is time poor. As work related activity takes up an enormous amount of time (commuting, work and overtime) time to sit at a desktop is limited.

One might think that at work people could log on and search like in a western company but in Japan a worker finds it difficult to do private search at work. Why? In an open plan office, where workers traditionally sit at a table, up to ten people sitting at a large combination of desks all facing each other . No partition exists, no privacy and everyone can see, hear and watch what you do. The boss of the section typically sits at the head of the table and oversees everyone.

So for most employees searching at work has limited use unless it is strictly for work related purposes. Many companies monitor staff computer usage, emails, sites visited and time spent on screen. So most searches in Japan are undertaken on Internet connected mobile phones. The nature of search is clearly different between cultures.

A mobile phone that is private and that can be accessed anywhere at anytime is a preferred way to search for information. Japanese Customers search in Japanese not English so their search uses three scripts, hiragana, katakana and kanji. These scripts are used either separately or combined when searching for information. Searching in English is not common. Japanese prefer search in Japanese.

The implications for companies trying to attract, manage and retain Japanese customers are certainly clear:

1. Is your website in Japanese?
2. Can your website be read on a Japanese mobile phone screen ie, your www.domainname. mobi see Go Daddy for more information
3. Do you have customer support in Japan, ie, a toll free phone number and a sales force to meet the needs of enquiries?

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