Working in Japan

What it’s like to work at retail store in Japan (Interview)

We have already introduced what it’s like to work in marketing or in sales in Japan. This time we’d like to focus on what its’s like to work at retail store in Japan. The content will be significantly good reference for you to grasp how a day of the life looks like when you work for a retail store in Japan because we did interview and show the real daily schedule and difficulties to be a stuff of retailer based of true statement.

Case introduction

ANNA MASUDA – working as retail store manager of wedding costume and dress. Masuda used to work at a hospital as office clerk, but changed the job to the retailer stuff in 2016. In 2017 she became the store manager and 2020 executive coordinator.

2018, just 2 years after entering the wedding dress shop in Ginza, Tokyo she has won the in-house MVP Award and has been keeping the top sales in both the number of orders and the amount of money since then.

A day of Masuda

11:00 Arrive the store → Cleaning → Ordering dresses → Check the schedule
12:00 Open the store → Customer service
20:00 Close the store
20:30 Going home

What she keeps in mind for work

  1. To propose proactively
  2. To pay attention to clothes, body shape, and speaking style to understand individuality
  3. To propose in consideration of situation in which the dress is used
  4. To not impose her views on those who have a strong wish (opinion)
  5. To gather experiences of receiving customer services regardless of industry and learn from it

Key factors for break-through

8 years ago, Masuda was choosing a wedding dress for herself which was a bitter experience according to her.

No matter what she wore, the clerk just praised her. “I was worried because she didn’t tell me what she thought.” It may be peculiar to Japan, but Japanese people often says “yes” or agree with other person even if they don’t think so in fact. This may make your client happy for the moment, but it does not help your customer at the end. You can say what you think it is good for your customers as long as you pay attention how to express it and determine the right limit. The Japanese customer would appreciate it.

In addition, Masuda says, “It is essential to actually visit the ceremonial hall or visit the website to imagine the ceremony.”. This is not only to determine the dress that suits the customer’s body shape, but also to propose a dress that matches the ceremony. If the ceremony hall has a grand staircase, I will introduce a dress with a beautiful back view, and if the venue is outdoors, we will introduce a dress made of soft material that flutters in the wind.

She does not miss studying regardless of wedding industry. Read more than 15 fashion magazines a month and become familiar with the trends so that even the latest dresses can be confidently explained to customers. On holidays, she visits salons, restaurants, and other places where shop assistants actively talk with customers, and refers to how they keep conversations and behaviors that keep customers not tired like their comments on her accessories.


Yuki Nagahori
BA in German / Japan Country Manager at editorial company → Sales → currently sales planner based in Hamburg, Germany