Since its foundation in Korea in 1955, DORCO has been extending its reach globally, aided by its superb technology. Today, Hoyoung Choi, Sales Manager at DORCO Japan, will give us a brief walkthrough of what DORCO is doing abroad. In Japan, which is geographically close but culturally far from Korea, DORCO has been implementing a variety of marketing activities with a focus on its distinctive six-blade products. Let's dive in to see how DORCO Japan has made its mark on DORCO's globalization journey.
1. Please introduce yourself briefly.
After joining DORCO on January 1, 2022, I was seconded to DORCO Japan on August 1. Under the leadership of Akira Kikuchi, General Manager of DORCO Japan, I am working as part of Sales Team along with Assistant Managers Masatoshi Onaka and Minjoung Kang, who are responsible for managing sales activities and operations.
2. What is the most noticeable about the Japanese market?
Japan is characterized by the diversity and multitude of retail channels such as drugstore, 100 Yen Shop, Japan Home Center, and discount store. The number of retail stores is over 100,000 in Japan, which calls for a well-tailored approach.
As drugstore chains are the largest retail channel in Japan, business growth hinges on sales performance at drugstores. Generally speaking, drugstore consumers prefer high-quality, high-end products. For drugstore channels, DORCO has been driving sales and developing new accounts with a focus on six-blade system razors, which are the most popular DORCO products. In contrast, for 100 Yen Shop, whose clientele is price-conscious, DORCO’s product proposals and sales efforts are targeting disposable razors.
Meanwhile, big-box outlets such as Japan Home Center and discount store have huge floor space and a wide selection of products, and discounted or bulk products are popular. For big-box stores, DORCO proposes products with eye-catching designs and compelling prices to prevail over competition. In contrast, for supermarkets, which have limited floor space but a high frequency of customer visits thanks to shop-in-shops, DORCO is focusing its efforts on its best-selling six-blade products.
3. What other characteristics does the Japanese market have?
Let me first explain more about how distribution works in Japan. Most retailers in Japan go through wholesalers, rather than directly sourcing from manufacturers. As each wholesaler covers a specific category of products, retailers rely on respective wholesalers that carry products they need. Accordingly, discovering wholesalers can open the door to retailers. Of course, direct transactions between manufacturers and retailers have been increasing, albeit slightly, in line with global trends. Except for 100 Yen Shop, national branded and privately branded razors account for 95% and 5% of shelves, respectively.
The characteristics of the Japanese market are not just in distribution but also in consumers. A glance at supermarket shelves would reveal that product packages contain a lot of text information, as Japanese consumers tend to check and compare the performance and attributes of products, no matter how small the purchase may be. Taking consumer behavior into consideration, DORCO Japan has developed packages with detailed product description to satisfy customer needs.
4. What is the best-selling product? What are the focus products of DORCO Japan?
Eyebrow razors are very popular in the women's segment. Most Japanese women are concerned about how their eyebrows look, as seen by the sheer variety of eyebrow razors on supermarket shelves. In the men's segment, five-blade razors make up most of the demand and see fierce competition. To stand out from the competition, DORCO is focusing on six-blade products, promoting SXA1000 and SXA5000 among system razors and SXA100 among disposable razors. This distinctive approach has paid off by capturing the interest of buyers, raising the brand’s awareness and expanding sales volumes. For women, DORCO pushes SXA400, a six-blade disposal razor model. Consumers, who have tried DORCO’s six-blade razors, are so satisfied with the quality and price that we often get “thank-you” calls from happy customers. For more product information, please visit our website http://jpn.dorcopace.com
5. What explains the high popularity of the six-blade razors? Why are six-blade razors more popular than seven-blade ones?
As aforementioned, five-blade razors have the lion’s share of the Japanese razor market. DORCO is stepping up the game with six-blade models. That said, if seven-blade razors are released in the market as it stands today, it may cause cannibalization of six-blade models. Thus, DORCO focuses on six-blade products at the moment.
6. What is DORCO’s presence in Japan?
DORCO occupies just 2% of the Japanese razor market. However, DORCO is building a unique brand identity, using the world’s first six-blade products. In addition, DORCO has been working to accelerate its penetration into major retail channels, enter the convenience store market and 100 Yen Shop stores in a move to expand its market share. DORCO is ramping up its sales activities to drive top-line growth by entering transactions with large-scale wholesalers such as PIP, J-NET, J-NET CHUO, and CBC.
In addition, DORCO runs traditional outdoor and magazine ads to reach as wide a range of consumers as possible, promotes DORCO products in stores and conducts in-store point-of-purchase (POP) marketing campaigns. In order to promote a variety of DORCO products, especially men's six-blade products, DORCO has created a promotional video and participated in the wholesaler exhibition. DORCO also has official Instagram and Twitter accounts to keeps its finger on the pulse of the market and engages with Japanese consumers.