TOM Office Introduction: Japan Fulfillment Center Part 2

Hello. I’m Kokumai and I handle product management for Tokyo Otaku Mode’s global ecommerce platform.

Picking up where I left off in my previous blog post, I’d like to introduce our Japan fulfillment center—the heart of our global ecommerce platform—in further detail.

My last post was photo-centric, focusing on conveying the atmosphere of the workplace. This time I will be featuring an interview with the manager of the Japan fulfillment center, Mr. Suematsu.

This is a photo of Mr. Suematsu taken for our recruit page. He’s trying a little too hard to look cool here, isn’t he.


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TOM Office Introduction: Japan Fulfillment Center Part 1

Hello. I’m Kokumai and I handle product management for Tokyo Otaku Mode’s global ecommerce platform.

How much do you know about Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM)? Whenever I give out my business card at business talks and events and say the company name, I continually get the following kinds of reactions:

  • Is this a Japanese company?
  • I’ve heard of the company, but I don’t know much about it.
  • Isn’t this the company that runs a Facebook page for introducing to the world otaku culture?

The truth is, TOM also runs a global ecommerce platform from Japan geared toward people abroad (as well as carries out various other operations). Through our shopping platform we sell products related to Japan’s otaku culture and pop culture and ship them out all over the world each day from Japan.

When talking of ecommerce, sites like Rakuten and Amazon probably come to mind. Because barriers to selling products online are lower both mentally and physically, this approach may seem like a no-brainer. However, as far as global ecommerce is concerned, the hurdles are much higher.

Since our company is geared toward a worldwide audience, it comes as no surprise that we can’t use Japanese. So it’s essential that we write all product descriptions in a way that sounds natural to read for overseas customers. (After all, most people probably don’t want to use their credit card to buy something from a site that uses cringe-worthy machine translations.) We also offer customer support in English.

Products that are domestic to Japan are easy to ship, and even if there’s a problem, it can be cleared up immediately by a phone call. On the other hand, however, when shipping products abroad the process is complicated and crosses multiple suppliers. And what’s more, if there’s a problem like the product never arrived or it was damaged, it’s necessary to investigate where the problem occurred and communicate with the customer in their language. Another issue is that pricing can change drastically depending on the box size and shipping company. And since sometimes shipping can cost several times more than the cost of the product, a big issue is how to reduce shipping costs.

Though it almost never happens in Japan, credit card fraud is a rampant problem overseas. In order to avoid sending out products without noticing the order was fraudulent and other such trouble, it’s essential to check each order every day to make sure they are not fraudulent.

When trying to sell products created through the use of an anime’s copyright, they can only be sold in specific countries/areas. Japanese publishers sell merchandising rights to suppliers in other countries, and in many instances products created by Japanese manufacturers can only be sold within Japan. Selling such products to unauthorized countries results in a contract violation. At TOM, we confirm the foreign regions each and every product can be sold in, and only sell to regions that have been authorized.

We at TOM have overcome each of the above hurdles by striving toward creating a global ecommerce platform from scratch.

Today, I’m introducing the fulfillment center, which can also be said to be the heart of the company.


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Introducing Tokyo Otaku Mode’s growth hacking techniques - A/B testing examples -

Hi. This is Hajime, COO of Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc.

Welcome to our official blog. My colleagues and I will be sharing regularly on how we work here at Tokyo Otaku Mode. I hope you enjoy it!

Japanese people frequently describe Tokyo Otaku Mode (‘TOM’) as an enigmatic company when asked about it. Although we have over 15 million fans on Facebook, only less than 1% are from Japan. In order to help everyone understand what we do, we have started this blog to introduce the techniques and methods that our team uses to support and grow TOM.

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