A website calling itself Buyma has found a strategic new market in online selling, and that is to cater to Japanese buyers who want foreign luxury brands that are not available in the country. Calling itself as a “social fashion site,” Buyma connects individuals looking for luxury brand products unavailable in Japan to people abroad who are willing to buy them on their behalf and ship them, which is kind of an ingenious way of doing business.
The model is pretty simple, and the main overseas purchasers for Buyma are Japanese housewives and other individuals who happen to be living outside Japan. These purchasers are managed by Enigmo Inc., whose Chief Executive Officer Shokei Suda launched Buyma in 2005. The business model is really just a transaction between the buyer and the overseas purchaser of a specific item the buyer is looking for, and a commission is added to the purchase price when the deal is settled. “We really just want to connect Japanese buyers with quality items from around the globe on a real-time basis, this with the help of individuals in those countries and areas who would be able to locate quality brands and products,” Enigmo director Hideo Ando said.
Buyma now boasts of around 1.5 million customers, but it really was a struggle to find Japanesae customers at first. Buyma said that there were months that they saw only ¥30,000 (about US$286) in sales. But the company has found a niche market in fashion items, and the site started to gain popularity because of that. The number of foreign purchasers has been built up to around 50,000, based in 75 countries, as the service can also be very financially attractive for them.