The Future of Global Commerce "ad:tech tokyo 2022" Report

Event Report


Hello. My name is Ichikawa, Public Relations Manager of eLife.
On October 20-21, 2022, we participated as an EXECUTIVE STAGE Sponsor in ad:tech Tokyo 2022, one of the largest marketing conferences in Asia, held at Tokyo Midtown and The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo. On the 21st, Mr. Yamamoto joined Mr. Ukita of TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD.and Mr. Hirose of Shopify Japan K.K. on the stage to talk about the future of global commerce. This article reports on the session.

Introduction of speakers

TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD. Mr. Kohei Ukita, General Manager, Sales Promotion Dept.
Joined Toei Animation in 2004. He was engaged in video production work in the Production Department. After that, he was involved in copyright work, event work, etc., and has been in his current position since 2021.

Chikara Hirose, Senior Partner Manager, Shopify Japan K.K.
2018/09-21/09 Oracle
Alliance & Channel(ERP/SCM/HCM/CX Partner Business Development/Partner Marketing)
Innovation Alliance(CX New Partner Business Development)
2017/08-18/08 MonstarLab Business Producer for a Vietnamese company
2010/06-17/07 Bird Eye CEO( e-commerce Consulting & Operation company

eLife Inc. Tatsuya Yamamoto, Executive Officer, Technical Director
Mr. Yamamoto joined eLifein 2011 and has led numerous projects including web development for clients and in-house service development, and at the same time contributed greatly to the certification of Shopify Plus partners, of which there were only a few in Japan at the time. Currently, as the D2C business manager of eLife, he oversees all phases of the project from development to operation from the standpoint of an expert who knows Shopify inside and out. He is responsible for proposing and educating clients on how a truly user-oriented global D2C service should be.

(from left to right) Tatsuya Yamamoto, Technical Director and Executive Officer, TOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD.; Kohei Ukita, General Manager of Sales Promotion Department; Chikara Hirose, Senior Partner Manager, Shopify Japan K.K.

What were the challenges that Digimon was facing?

Toei Animation's Digimon series began with the 1999 hit "Digimon Adventure," and several series have been created since then.
However, the Digimon content, which has passed through the ages and will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2024, faced several challenges, Ukita said, looking back on those days.

End of the era of one-way transmission of images from TV, movies, etc.

First, in terms of viewer ratings and box-office revenue, animated films are inevitably produced with mass marketing in mind. However, in today's diversified consumer market, if the target audience is not clear, the work will not resonate strongly. Also, in the past, content production was based on one-way communication by the creators, but nowadays anyone can communicate via the Internet, and information is exchanged in both directions, so I felt that it would be difficult to communicate only one-way.

Digimon fans divided

And since Digimon is a series that has been around for more than 20 years, there are many fans of each of the individual works, but I felt that the Digimon Universe (Digimon as a whole) has a surprisingly small fan base. If we just continue to creative the newest works in the same way in the future, I think it will create a division and is unlikely to lead to the expansion of the Digimon Universe. Since the demographic that used to watch the TV anime is now around 30 years old and many of them have children, we wanted to create a place where parents and children of two generations could enjoy the show together."

Insufficient support for the many international fans that exist.

I also feel that Digimon is popular not only in the Japanese market but also, thankfully, on a global scale. Despite the fact that Digimon has enthusiastic fans in Europe, the United States, and other Asian countries, we were concerned and felt it was an issue that we were not able to provide information on new products and production announcements in multiple languages, and as a result, information was being sent out to Japanese fans first.

CSA and PRM-oriented community building and in-house E-Commerce are the keys to solving problems.

Mr. Yamamoto explained the basic concepts of eLife, "PRM" and "PRM" as necessary ideas for community building.CSA and PRM.

CSA is our coined acronym for "creators, supporters, and audiences". Traditionally, content could be sent out only by the creators, but this is no longer the case. And for a community site to be successful, the three-tiered structure of CSA is indispensable.

*Click on the figure to go to "basic concepts of elife: What is CSA?" page.

PRM stands for "partner relationship management. This is also a term we coined, and it is a concept that goes one step further than crm. It is a way of creating partner customers who are willing to collaborate with a company from the same perspective.

*Click on the figure to go to "basic concepts of elife: What is PRM?" page.

This concept was shared by Mr. Ukita.

We have planned a Digimon activation project to listen to the fans' voices further and launched a community website in the hope that we can create a community that values the supporters who support Digimon, and that supporters can expand their supporters, and furthermore, spread to the audience.

In April 2021, Digimon Partners, the official Digimon fan community site, will be launched. Digimon Partners" will also include our own e-commercesite " DP Shop" using Shopify.

Here, Mr. Ukita will introduce the measures actually taken by "Digimon Partners".

Implementation of co-creation projects

"Digimon Partners" held a project to create original goods by asking users for their opinions on what kind of goods they would like to have. Fans were very active in exchanging opinions, and many ideas were exchanged.
The enthusiasm was so high that we often came up with more interesting ideas than we could take in. We would like to continue to cherish this enthusiasm.
The first round of the "Let's Make Digimon Goods Together" project resulted in a life-size plush toy and a smartphone case, and 2,998 fans participated in the process. The process exceeded our expectations with 2,998 fans participating and the total number of views reaching 35,312.

Mr. Ukita of Toei Animation explains the measures taken for "Digimon Partners".

I mentioned earlier that Digimon Partners also has its own e-commercewebsite, the DP Shop, which uses Shopify. The DP Shop is easily accessible from Social media, making it easy for users to make purchases, and we have achieved 180% of our sales target for the first year.

Holding fan meetings

We regularly hold fan meetings where fans can participate and exchange opinions. We have divided the meetings into genres such as anime, figures, games, and miscellaneous goods to make it easier for fans who want to discuss common topics to participate. We also purposely kept the number of participants small so that everyone would have a chance to speak up, which I feel has enhanced the quality of communication among fans.

Started English support in the site.

The site is equipped with a function that allows users to translate messages they type into Japanese and English on the spot, just like on Facebook and Twitter. This was a great success, as it allowed both Japanese and international users to interact with each other, and for global users, it gave them the advantage of being able to obtain information on Digimon in Japan.

"Digimon Partners" is continuously implementing such measures on a mid-term basis. The number of fans with a sense of unity is increasing, and this is having the effect of expanding the number of new fans among fans.

Yamamoto said, "Some people may feel that this story is limited to Digimon, which has many passionate fans, but that is not the case at all. As long as there is good communication between the management and community users, partners will surely emerge. As the number of partners increases, the community can become self-driven in some cases," he explained.

The Future of Global Commerce Starts with Niche. Three key global niche strategies

Digimon Partners" has its own e-commercewebsite, DP Shop, where you can purchase many Digimon goods online, including the co-creation goods mentioned earlier. The platform for this site is Shopify Plus.

Here, Mr. Hirose talks about Shopify as a platform for buying anywhere, including SNS.

When you only have your own website, you tend to have a single point of contact with your customers. But consumers are on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, etc., in a variety of places. In other words, the time of access to all channels is becoming more dispersed. In this era of increasingly diverse points of contact with consumers, Shopify was chosen as the commerce platform that could respond quickly and efficiently.

Mr. Yamamoto, our president, proposed "Global Niche," saying, "In considering global commerce, it is necessary to establish marketing communication, determine what the core values of our products are, and develop strategies based on them. He proposed a "global niche.

The term "niche" has been around for a long time and refers to a market with a gap. Global niche is a strategy to increase the market size by many times or dozens of times by taking one small market all over the world at the same time.

Mr. Yamamoto mentioned three important points for global expansion.

1. Omni-channel using SNS / Shopify and other infrastructure

Mr. Hirose said earlier, "Omni-channel is inevitable when considering global commerce. As Mr. Hirose mentioned earlier, today's consumers are on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and many other places. If you want to reach more users, your site needs to be exposed not only to browsers but also to mobile apps, which are used by many users. In particular, the e-commercesite needs to have the ability to "shop anywhere" on the Internet. In fact, Social mediais offering shopping functionality all over the web. Shopify, which is omni-channel, makes it easy to integrate product data with Social mediaand malls, making it easy to manage.

2. Own E-Commerce and own community to retain users and fans

If you just open a store in a shopping mall, it is difficult for users to interact with each other, so loyalty will not increase. We believe that it is necessary to establish our own e-commerceor community site in order to retain users and fans. This will allow us to meet users one-on-one, collect data, and activate interaction among users.

3. Not thinking in terms of region or location

This is an important point to consider when thinking about global niches. In today's world, where we are connected to anywhere in the world via the Internet, there is no need to start thinking in terms of regions or locations. Instead of targeting only those regions where there are likely to be many fans of your product, it is better to view it as a large market, gathering fans from all over the world."

Here, our Mr. Yamamoto will present a case study of a marketing campaign we conducted with MUJI as an example of a successful global niche strategy.

We noticed that many illustrations using MUJI pens were being posted all over the world on Instagram by amateurs and professionals alike, and we decided to hold an art contest for MUJI pen users, the "MUJI PEN ART CONTEST."
Despite the lack of advertising investment, the contest has spread to 90 countries, with more than 3,000 submissions and over 100,000 people viewing it in one week.

Mr. Yamamoto continues, "The love of painting with MUJI PEN is not regional, but universal.
The love of painting with the MUJI PEN has no regional characteristics and is universal. Again, it is important not to start a global niche with a specific region or location. This example I introduced here would probably not have been as exciting as it was if it had been a limited regional campaign like the one for North America. This is a strategy that can be generalized to many products, not just pens.

He then suggested to Ukita, "This is exactly the kind of global niche development that I recommend, since many of Toei Animation's works have a high level of passion.

What became clear in this session was that global expansion is essential for companies in the future and the importance of omni-channel strategies. In this regard, we believe that global niche will be a key word.

From the content of this lecture, I felt once again that global expansion is essential in the face of shrinking domestic demand, and that the three points that Mr. Yamamoto mentioned earlier will become even more important in the future.
We at eLifewill continue to support your global expansion in the future.

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Digimon PartnersTOEI ANIMATION CO., LTD.

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