Survey Considerations
What is the Positioning Statement?
  • Since your product is unlikely to be known to the panelists in Japan, it is important that you give them some idea of how you sell it and who you sell it to in your own country. If there is some niche sector that you service, then you should describe that sector as well.
  • In doing this, you give them a feeling of what is normal, and a frame of reference to which they can make comments about contrasts that they will see for their own market.
What is Pre-screening? Pre-screening allows you to narrow down your audience so that they have certain experience which gives you higher useful response rates in your survey. For example, if you make car accessories, you can screen people with the question: “Do you own a car?”. The more specific your pre-screening questions, the bigger an audience you need to pre-screen in order to get enough candidates for your main survey. We recommend at least 10-50 times as many pre-screen respondents as the desired final (standard) survey audience.
How much of a Consultant Testing survey template can I alter? The consultants are paid for 25 minutes (Digital Only) or 90 minutes (Physical) for completing surveys. Providing you give questions in line with the samples on the website, without adding in sub-questions, then you can alter as much of the template as you like. On returning the template to us, we will advise you whether your questions are suitable or need modification, which you agree to modify on request.
How much of a Consumer Testing survey template can I alter? We allow only limited modification of the consumer testing survey templates, on the basis that non-intuitive, unfamiliar concept-based, difficult, obtuse, nested (doubled up) or other types of atypical questions may damage the survey results irretrievably. Questions must be simple, to the point, and offer only yes, no, maybe, or user written answers. Further, Japan has specific online survey standards and will cause deviating from normal surveys that respondents are likely to complain or discontinue the survey. Please check with us about the changes you wish to make to your survey. If you have complex questions, break them down into a longer series of simpler ones.
Online Survey Options
“Direct Exposure” option to send panelists to your website Normally your Digital Assets are placed alongside the questions in our online survey software. However, for an additional fee, we can redirect panelists to a specific URL that you wish to have included as the object of review. This is particularly useful if you are trying to compare your website to a competitor’s and want to get user feedback.
Can I use the surveys as a means of getting sales? No, this goes against the basic operating standards for online survey firms in Japan. However, if in the course of reviewing your website (using the Direct Exposure option), a panelist subsequently performs some other action on your site, then this is allowed. Simply put, you can’t make traffic acquisition the primary reason for your survey. We will review your website during to make sure that there is no overt effort to monetize a survey in this way.
Online Shopping Site  
What if I don’t have an online Japanese shopping site? While about 10%-15% of Japanese are comfortable reading English and navigating foreign websites, most are not. Therefore, we recommend you prepare a Japanese shopping site if you plan to support online purchases. We can prepare one for you, which will display in Japanese and will accept Japanese credit cards (through a local payment gateway). This software should be hosted on a server outside Japan if the products require certain approvals in Japan (such as food and cosmetics)
What about Japanese shopping site support? We offer an email-only help desk function which is very economical and where the help desk staff are bilingual. They can take your customer concerns in Japanese then relay them to your English-speaking customer support staff for answers. The answers will of course be translated once again back to Japanese. Bilingual phone help desk support is also available, but this is only suitable for larger operations.
Can I sell products online that are not yet approved in Japan? Yes, you can. So long as the products are not generally prohibited (firearms, drugs, etc.) then Japan has a personal import system that allows individuals to bring in limited volumes of goods, supplements, cosmetics, medicines, etc.
Quality Assurance
What is the guarantee on survey quality?
  • For Consultant Testing surveys, we guarantee that the individual is knowledgeable in your market segment, unless we advise you otherwise (which we will always do).
  • For Consumer Testing surveys, we can only guarantee the number of responses, and as with similar testing services, we rely on the volume of responses to even out the results. Fortunately, Japanese are generally diligent and honest in completing surveys.
How do you find and select consultants?

Our consultants are people in our network who are either buyers or consulting professionally in your segment or one that is similar. We receive feedback from clients on the performance of each consultant, and keep a reputation tracking system for future decisions on who to use.

Why do I have a different consultant to last time?

Since consultants are working in their free time to assist MTest (and to keep your costs down), if they are not free to work with you, we will assign another consultant. If you prefer to wait for an original consultant AND if they are available and agree to the appointment, then you can indicate to us that you prefer to do this.

What if you can’t find a consultant familiar with my product area?
  • We offer the following choices:
  • Wait until we find a suitable consultant. This may take up to 4 weeks.
  • Accept a consultant recommended by us, who is in a similar field.
  • We will offer one of our in-house staff to work with you directly, understanding that while they may not be experts in your field, they are nonetheless highly experienced over years of executing market entry projects.
With such low prices, what is the motivation for consultants to join this program?

We pay our consultants a percentage of the Client fee, an amount which rises as the consultant gains a positive reputation. The main motivation for joining this program is that they are interested in reviewing new products and may see your’s as the next “big thing” for their business. We give our consultants permission to approach clients directly (we draw a small fee), if they wish to progress your product into the market.

We can’t translate into Japanese

All surveys must be sent to the consultants or consumer panelists in Japanese. If you are unable to create comprehensible Japanese (Google Translate is NOT suitable), then we will supply the translation service to you at extra cost.

I want to use a Japanese student to do my translation. Is that OK?

If your translation is not good enough, while we may accept it, the result will be to your detriment if the respondents give up in frustration because they don’t understand the product or its values and positioning. Our suggestion is ONLY use experienced translators ? using students on holiday in Australia will likely lead to sub-standard results. We do not check translations unless you pay us to do so.

We can’t read the Japanese test results

To keep costs down, and because Google Translate is free, we supply the survey results in Japanese, which you can cut and paste into the Google Translate engine. However, our recommendation is to have professional translations done, so that you will understand fully the results and the comments/advice coming back to you.

Custom Requests
What if I want a service not on the menu?

We are here to help you. If you want something not yet on the menu, please ask.