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How S’pore’s 1st Japanese skincare D2C e-commerce platform saw 200% sales growth in a year

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japan premium

In Singapore, the Direct-to-Consumers (D2C) concept has been widely accepted by many consumers. 

This burgeoning trend is what enabled e-commerce store Japan Premium to witness a 200 per cent sales growth within the past year. 

Founded by Yoshi Kashima, Japan Premium is a D2C concept premium goods store that offers exclusive products at affordable prices to enrich customers’ quality of life. 

yoshi kashima japan premium founder
Yoshi Kashima, founder of Japan Premium / Image Credit: Japan Premium

Currently based in both Singapore and Malaysia, the Japanese entrepreneur had quit a high-paying job as a business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce consultant in Japan, and moved to Southeast Asia to start his own business. 

He later established Japan Premium in 2015 with the mission to offer premium quality products at no hidden costs. This makes it the first D2C e-commerce store in Singapore that links Japanese manufacturers directly to consumers.

We don’t believe that people should pay a fortune on products that are cheap to produce. Most of the branded products are merely expensive when it comes to selling them.

With the intention of providing true, quality goods to fellow Singaporeans, I have introduced the D2C business model (to Japan Premium).

– Yoshi Kashima, founder of Japan Premium

Are you a smart consumer?

Consumers nowadays are given many choices. In addition to the traditional retail stores, the number of online shops have also increased in the past year, giving consumers more options when they shop. 

Despite that, many consumers in Singapore tend to go for the big brands or smaller shops that sell branded goods. Unfortunately, they often encounter cheap, low-quality products, and those with acceptable quality tend to come with a big price tag.

This raises the question of whether consumers are actually paying for the product quality or brand. Do consumers really understand the quality and product cost of the goods they purchase? 

Under such circumstances, the D2C concept has gradually become a global trend. 

Since products are being sent from brand owners directly to consumers, extra fees such as middleman markup and retail costs are eliminated, and there will be no hidden charges added to the selling price. 

D2C: The business model that eliminates hidden costs 

Yoshi observed that a lot of products available in the local market tend to be cheap, but fragile. Some products also break easily despite the high selling price. 

For products sold in branded stores, many are subjected to high markups due to hidden fees — such as rental costs and middleman charges — when the product cost remains low. 

japan premium mobile app
Japan Premium on mobile / Image Credit: Japan Premium

Japan Premium, on the other hand, strives to strike a good balance between quality and cost by offering high-quality products at fair prices. 

Yoshi explained that as Japan Premium is officially linked to reputable Japanese D2C brand owners with proven track record, there are no hidden charges imposed on the selling price.

Many locals tend to purchase cheap but low quality goods, or expensive branded goods with substandard quality. However, at Japan Premium, we are committed to providing premium quality goods at reasonable prices.

I want to make premium goods a part of fellow Singaporeans’ lives and enrich their quality of lives.

– Yoshi Kashima, founder of Japan Premium
japan premium cost breakdown
Product cost breakdown of Japan Premium versus other brands / Image Credit: Japan Premium

He added that product cost is a good indication of product quality. With its D2C model, the average product cost is approximately 69 per cent of the selling price. 

In contrast, the traditional business model often seen with many other brands, the product cost usually only makes up 25 per cent of the selling price. 

Making curated Japanese products accessible to Southeast Asians

japan premium brand ambassador
Yoshi’s wife, Chin, who is also Japan Premium’s brand ambassador / Image Credit: Japan Premium

Yoshi’s wife, Chin, who is a Malaysian, has personally tried many Japanese products that Yoshi brought from his hometown.

After trying them out, she realised that many good quality products from Japan are not found in Southeast Asia. That was what prompted Yoshi to curate a selection of products to be sold on Japan Premium based on her feedback as a consumer. 

Chin’s YouTube review on Takagi Shower Head / Video Credit: Japan Premium

“After getting married to Yoshi, I had the opportunity to try out various products from Japan. I was genuinely surprised by the quality and effectiveness of the products. To my astonishment, the price of the products were also affordable,” said Chin, who is now also a brand ambassador for Japan Premium.

“Since then, I found my trust in the Japanese product quality and decided to introduce more quality products from Japan to the Southeast Asian public.”

Signing contracts directly with Japanese D2C brands

Japan Premium offers mainly skincare products, but more than 50 premium home and living products such as shower heads, towels and detergents have since been made available. 

Since inception, Yoshi has successfully signed contracts with approximately 100 D2C brands in Japan. Most of them are exclusive contracts, making Japan Premium the exclusive distributor of these brands in Singapore. 

Although these brands might not be well-known in Singapore, Yoshi assures that they are recognised in Japan. 

japan premium award-winning products
Japan Premium offers award-winning products / Image Credit: Japan Premium

They consist of award-winning products such as CHARLENE Real All In One and Takagi Shower Head. These products have been featured by the Monde Selection and Rakuten Rankings, which guarantees their top-notch product quality. 

Customer satisfaction is a top priority at Japan Premium 

As more consumers work from home, many make a conscious effort to get their hands on quality products to boost their productivity, and Japan Premium offers just that. 

Besides offering quality products, Japan Premium also places a heavy focus on providing good customer service. 

For one, orders are delivered promptly to ensure customer satisfaction, which contributes to their growing customer base. 

japan premium shopee reviews
Japan Premium reviews on Shopee / Image Credit: Japan Premium

To date, Japan Premium has seen an increasing number of repeat customers, and it has also received countless positive product reviews and customer feedback, which is a sound testament to their business ethos. 

Moving forward, Yoshi said that Japan Premium will continue to introduce new quality products to the Singaporean market, as well as roll out additional exclusive member benefits for loyal customers. 

He also hopes to expand Japan Premium’s services to other ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, to fill the gap in the respective markets. 

In line with their tagline “Shop smart, get Premium”, you can check out Japan Premium products on their online stores via their website, Shopee or Lazada

This article was written in collaboration with Japan Premium.

Featured Image Credit: Japan Premium

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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