Overview of eCommerce Courier Service Companies in Japan
Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, having one of the highest standards of living. The country’s quality of life can be attributed to the high penetration levels of technology in the everyday life of the population. Several traditional aspects of the country’s lifestyle have been replaced by machines, including the shopping experience. With one of the highest average internet speeds in the world, Japan is naturally a large eCommerce market for companies. However, serving such a demanding population requires the services of market leaders.
The eCommerce industry is heavily dependent on the logistics and courier service industry to reach its customers. Since eCommerce stores operate largely in the digital realm, the responsibility of the courier service companies is heavy. Therefore, choosing the right courier service partner becomes critical to the success of any eCommerce business. To help businesses choose the right partner for their business, here we discuss the top courier service companies in Japan, what they offer and how to choose a suitable partner.
Top 10 Best eCommerce Courier Service Provider Companies in Japan [2021 Updated List] (Fastest and Cheapest)
The Japanese eCommerce industry is highly developed and allied services in the region keep up with them. Therefore, the number of options available for eCommerce courier service companies can easily overwhelm anyone. To better understand which companies can be reliable partners for eCommerce businesses, here is a list of the top eCommerce courier service companies in Japan.
Yamato Transport is one of the largest courier service providers in Japan. It was established in 1919 just after the end of the first World War. At that time, the economy of Japan was recovering quickly and Yamato surely made a place for itself in the market. It handles an average of 1.8 billion packages every year and helps businesses deliver their products to customers in over 23 countries in the world. It offers freight, cross-border shipping, specialized shipping, surface transportation and more to businesses in Japan.
Sagawa is a Japanese courier service company. It was founded in 1957 is one of the biggest logistics companies in Japan. It employs more 57,000 people and provides transportation and doorstep delivery services to businesses. It allows businesses to make express deliveries, international shipments, and offers tracking solutions for packages. Businesses are also able to make deliveries for specialized items using Sagawa.
3. Japan Post
Japan Post is a Japan-based international courier service and logistics solutions provider. It was established in 2007 and currently operates a network of 27,000 post offices throughout Japan. It also owns over 50 logistics hubs spread throughout the world. It employs approximately 200,000 people and delivers products to more than 100 countries. Japan Post allows businesses to send parcels, mails, delivery-date specified items, and more. It offers dedicated solutions to eCommerce companies in the country as well.
Schenker-Seino is one of the largest and oldest shipping and courier service companies in Japan. It has a legacy of 140 years, having operations in over 140 countries and spread across 2,000 locations throughout the world. It employs a total of 58,000 people and allows businesses in Japan to deliver products to over 200 countries around the world. It offers freight, doorstep delivery, cross-border shipping and customs clearance solutions to businesses in Japan. They also offer contract logistics services to businesses with dedicated solutions for eCommerce companies.
5. Blue Dart
Blue Dart is an international shipping and courier service company which was established in 1983. It began as a doorstep delivery service but has since expanded its service portfolio to several logistics solutions. It is a major logistics company in Japan allowing businesses in the country to reach customers in over 220 countries around the world. It offers shipping services, freight forwarding solutions, cross-border logistics, customs clearance and several other 3PL services to eCommerce businesses in Japan.
DTDC is another international courier service provider and was founded in the year 1990. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, it is one of the most popular delivery companies in Japan. It allows businesses to make deliveries to over 240 countries and employs more than 35,000 people internationally. Through DTDC eCommerce companies can ship their items domestically and internationally, store their products in warehouses, avail 3PL services and even manage returning orders.
FedEx is one of the largest shipping and courier companies in the world. It allows businesses in Japan to reach customers in over 220 countries and territories around the world, employs over 600,000 people globally and processes an average of 12.5 million packages every day. It offers several courier and related services for eCommerce companies in Japan such as doorstep delivery, international shipping, customs clearance, bulk delivery, reverse logistics, and more.
DHL is an international logistics and courier service provider that is part of the logistics giant Deutsche Post Group. It employs more 400,000 people globally and allows businesses to ship items to over 220 countries around the world. It handles approximately 1.8 billion packages every single year. DHL offers freight, surface transportation, cross-border shipping and other allied services to eCommerce businesses in Japan. It also allows businesses to deliver sensitive items, manage returning orders and more.
UPS is short for United Parcel Service and it is one of the largest courier service providers and logistics companies in the world. It was founded in 1907 and currently allows businesses to deliver packages to over 220 countries around the world. It employs more than 500,000 people and handles over 4.7 billion packages every year. It offers dedicated solutions to eCommerce businesses and allows businesses to schedule pickups, manage returning orders, generate shipping labels through its internet based platform. It allows businesses to ship bulk items, make special deliveries, and even make cross-border deliveries.
10. Nippon Express
Nippon Express is one of the largest courier service companies in Japan in terms of revenue. It was established in 1937 and is counted among the top shipping companies in the world. It maintains a strong presence in 735 international locations. Nippon Express surface transportation, freight, specialized transportation, supply chain management, warehousing and more solutions to businesses in Japan. It also offers dedicated eCommerce delivery services to online sellers in the country.
Top 15 factors to consider when choosing a courier service company in Japan
The number of options for courier services available in the market is abundant making it extremely difficult for businesses to decide which partner would be ideal for their specific needs. In order to avoid such confusion, here is a list of factors that businesses must consider before choosing a courier service company in Japan.
The area serviced by a courier company is important for an eCommerce to be able to successfully an existing customer base and to have scope for future expansion. Should a courier service company serve limited geographies in Japan, eCommerce stores would fail to reach a lot of customers, leaving them to be captured by the competition. Serviceability is critical for eCommerce companies not only for growth but for also servicing existing customers in the best manner possible.
2. Size and weight restrictions
Some courier service providers in Japan may place restrictions on the size and weight of the packages that can be delivered using their services. This can create hindrances in the smooth functioning of the store and deteriorate customer experience when certain products would become undeliverable. Therefore, businesses in Japan must assess what type of products they need to get delivered and if they do not fit the norm which service providers will be able to satisfy their requirements.
The cost of services has a direct impact on the operations of any business. When choosing a courier service company, eCommerce stores in Japan must look for options that justify the cost. The most expensive option in the market might have a very high quality of service, however, can be detrimental to the financial health of the company. As for the cheapest option, it is likely to have poor quality service and could end up costing even more in terms of bad service, lost clients and damage to products. Therefore, an ideal choice would be an affordable provider with good quality service priced reasonably but not too expensive, or too cheap.
4. Hidden Charges
Hidden charges are a common evil in various industries and have plagued the eCommerce companies in Japan for a long time. Hidden costs can be buried deep into the paper sent by courier service companies and can be hard to identify until the costs have piled up. Therefore, when choosing a courier service company businesses must be aware of the hidden costs associated with the services offered and generally opt for companies that are more transparent in their pricing structure.
5. Speed of delivery
The eCommerce industry is a competitive market and works on thin margins. The smallest of errors in the shipping process could lead to loss of clientele and eventually revenues. As more eCommerce companies offer features like same day delivery, next day delivery and 2 day delivery, with some even offering delivery services that can get the product to the doorstep of the customers in under 2 hours. As customers get used to the convenience, eCommerce stores need to offer services that are at par with their competitors. Therefore, online stores need to choose partners that are able to help them keep up with the competition through faster delivery options.
Each courier service is unique in its own way and businesses need to understand which ones work for them. When eCommerce stores look for courier service partners they need to look for companies that specialize or have some expertise related to their product and domain. This allows businesses to improve their shipping experience and improve efficiency, while simultaneously leveraging the experience of the courier service company to enhance their services.
7. Safety and Insurance
One of the biggest issues that eCommerce companies have is damage of goods while in transit. It is important that businesses are able to deliver products to the customers without damaging or losing them during transit, as it results in loss of revenue as well as customers. When looking for the ideal partner, businesses must ensure that the courier service company is a responsible partner. It is also advised that businesses choose the partners which offer insurance for the value of the products in transit to cover for losses in the event of damage to the product.
8. Delivery Ecosystem
The courier service company comprises several different departments and teams that make the entire process of delivering a product possible and help companies reach their customers. Therefore, an ideal partner should have a cohesive delivery ecosystem, where each team performs at optimum efficiency to ensure that each stage of the delivery process is completed without any hindrances.
9. Proof of Delivery
As demand for eCommerce services increases, delivery agents are often known to attempt fake deliveries in order to dupe the businesses and get their fee without having to work for it. Such instances have been on the rise in Japan and need to be addressed to maintain business viability. To curb this issue, businesses should partner with courier service companies that offer proof of delivery in the form of photographs, signatures, etc. for every order that is sent to the customers. This allows businesses to ensure that their customers receive the product and the agent is not able to dupe them.
10. RTO Percentage
RTO or return-to-origin occurs when a delivery fails and the package has to be sent back to the seller. This causes the seller loss in two ways, first in terms of lost revenue and second in terms of additional shipping costs to bring the product back to the seller. To avoid this, businesses can partner with companies that have robust protocols in place to manage any issues that arise during the delivery process. Businesses must also agree upon a certain minimum number of delivery attempts to be made before a product assigned to be returned to origin.
11. Returns Management
Returns are a major part of the online shopping experience. As customers do not get a feel of the product physically, online stores offer product returns to allow customers to return the product that may not fit, are damaged or are simply undesired. Online sellers Japan generally offer unconditional returns to compete with other players in the market, therefore, it becomes crucial that they partner with reliable companies who can collect returning items from the doorstep of customers and get them back safely to the original location, i.e. seller’s warehouse.
12. Stuck Shipments
There are instances when shipments are stuck in the journey due to a variety of reasons. These reasons can be anything from issues with customs clearance to delays caused by weather conditions, etc. To be able to achieve a competitive edge and superior customer satisfaction, businesses need to ensure that such exceptions do not hinder their operations. Therefore, eCommerce businesses need to look for courier service companies that are able to counter shipping exceptions and deliver products on time.
Being a technology-driven country, Japan’s lifestyle involves some sort of technology in almost every aspect. Therefore, it makes sense that courier service companies that work with eCommerce businesses, which themselves are a tech venture, use the necessary technology to ensure that the shipping experience is enhanced and superior. Businesses need to partner with firms that offer integrations, tracking, order management and other such solutions to businesses to be able to compete in the market.
14. Value-added Services
Value-added services are often overlooked, however, are very important to the success of an eCommerce business. As eCommerce businesses grow, they require various services such as bundling of products, packaging, kitting, or assembly of items. These services are often provided by the courier service companies themselves. Therefore, when looking for a courier company, businesses must identify providers that offer additional services to streamline processes, make the shipping process efficient and get cost-effective solutions.
15. Past Performance
Reviews from previous clients and even the clientele itself is important factor to consider partnering with a courier service company. Businesses can get a fair idea of the quality of service and performance of the courier service company by getting reviews from companies who have previously availed of their services. Furthermore, the type of companies that a courier service company has worked with helps businesses understand what kind of volume, products and requirements can the courier service company handle and if the solutions provider is the right fit for the role.
Japan is a competitive market having witnessed internet penetration much earlier than most Asian countries. It is almost a contemporary of the western world in terms of technology and development of the economy. To compete in a market as developed as Japan, where the customers are aware and seasoned in the online shopping experience, businesses need to bring out the best in their services. Since eCommerce companies rely solely on courier service companies to reach their customers where the only physical interaction between the company and customer happens, they need to make sure that the courier service provider is the correct choice for them.