Targeting International Customers in Japanese E-commerce: A Web Content Analysis of the Marketing Mix in Rakuten and Amazon.co.jp
Abstract: The thesis examines the marketing strategies implemented by the two biggest e-commerce companies in Japan, namely Rakuten and Amazon.co.jp, in order to address their international customers. Specifically, the study is conducted by means of a multiple-case study design, an interpretivist approach and a qualitative Web Content Analysis on the two firms’ websites in English language. The theoretical framework is based on a revisited marketing mix with a view to applying the so-called “4Ps” in the international online environment throughout the analysis of the websites. The study primarily stems from a lack of research on marketing practices of Japanese e-commerce companies, as well as from an inadequate emphasis on case-study research of marketing operations. Based on the main findings, both companies propose an efficient and secure global shipping system and accommodate a variety of international payment methods, although they partially ensure international payment security. Furthermore, whereas Rakuten is aimed at advertising Japanese products abroad, Amazon.co.jp provides customers with an international return policy. Finally, the thesis reveals that the customized nature of Rakuten’s marketplace and a limited translation into English of the website content in Amazon.co.jp pose challenges in terms of the companies’implementation of international marketing strategies.
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