Cross-border EC now advancing even for individuals

EC Column


Hello. My name is Oyama, and I am a consultant.
Riding the wave of globalization today, it is now possible for individuals to easily start cross-border e-commerce. Cross-border e-commercegenerally refers to companies selling goods and services across borders, but there are more and more examples of individuals using their skills and products to sell around the world. This article will explain how individuals are implementing cross-border e-commerce

Individuals start cross-border EC today

It may be easier for an individual to start a cross-border e-commercethan for a company to start one. Companies often have to coordinate with branch offices and distributors in different countries before they can proceed. In this regard, it is actually a low hurdle for individuals and small companies to start a cross-border e-commerce.
One of the major differences between individuals and companies e-commerceis that individuals are basically exhibiting in some marketplace. Remember that marketplaces are very useful in terms of attracting customers, but the disadvantage is that they charge fees and do not allow direct marketing.

Let's take a look at what kind of activities are being conducted.

Japanese antique collector

On Esty and other handmade markets, handmade products by Japanese artists are popular for their exquisiteness and high quality.
For example, an antique collector in Gifu Prefecture sells vintage items to the U.S. and Europe. There are even cases where there are 30 people standing by in a basket for every 1 antique in stock.
Accessories are also standard items, but "old tools from grandma's house" that would not sell at a flea market in Japan are highly valued in cross-border e-commercemarkets.
It is very difficult to find such items as souvenirs while traveling.


Illustrators and other creators are also taking advantage of NFT to sell their products across borders in the field of NFT art. (NFT is a topic that needs to be discussed separately.)
Traditionally, most of the earnings of illustrators have come from the fees paid for commissioned projects. If you wanted to sell your own drawings, you had to rent an art gallery and hold an exhibition, which was a very narrow and difficult path.
In Japan, the number of people who would buy paintings by living contemporary artists was extremely limited, and the market was very narrow.
With the advent of NFT Art, anyone can exhibit their works, people from all over the world are interested in them, and they are selling for tens of thousands of dollars at auctions.


Source: banilizo/banilizo.eth (

Japanese stamp designers

Even though the market for stamps has been shrinking due to digitization, from the perspective of people overseas, stamps are popular as interesting and elaborately crafted works of art with characters condensed into a small area.
In Esty and other places, hanko in the form of an order that specifies the size, shape (square, round, oval, etc.), and material of the hanko (ivory, type of wood, etc.), as well as the character to be engraved, are also popular.
Some people use only kanji and katakana characters, while others even use illustrations.
Exhibitors range from people who used to run small local hanko shops to individuals who make hanko as a hobby.
The variety of stamps created seems to have been the result of requests, leading to the creation of creative products that transcend the conventional wisdom of Japanese hanko.


In this way, there are many individuals who have made great strides by turning their attention overseas, even in markets that are said to be difficult in Japan.
Although there is a disadvantage of using a platform, which tends to make it a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with the customer, they still see the merit in the fact that it opens up a large market.
It is also noteworthy that the feedback and requests from people who have a different perspective from the Japanese have led to the creation of even better products.

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