Ben And Jerrys Case Study
Market Opportunities for Ben and Jerry's in Japan
While happening into its several foreign markets, Ben and Jerry's had also begun making inquiries about the Japan market in the mid 1990s. Japan represented the second largest ice cream market in the world, with annual sales of approximately $4.5 billion, but it also was known to have a complex distribution system with high entry barriers.
Ben and Jerry's would be a late entrant, more than ten years behind Haagen-Dazs’ initial entry. In addition, there were at least six Japanese ice cream manufacturers selling a super premium product.
Despite the challenges of entering Japan, it would not be necessary to educate the consumers to super premium ice creams. Japanese consumers were known for demanding high quality products with great varieties of new flavors, attributes which characterized the Ben and Jerry’s product …show more content…
Iida suggested that Ben and Jerry's could sell directly to Seven-Eleven Japan, avoiding some of the distribution costs that are typical of the usual multi-layer distribution system in Japan.
While Seven-Eleven would provide an instant entree to the market, the company would not be in a position to help Ben and Jerry's develop other distribution channels in Japan. The retailer thought it could sell at least six cups per day at each store, which would be the minimum to justify continuing to stock Ben and Jerry's
Ben and Jerry's was, as yet, unknown in Japan, and it did not have the budget for a marketing campaign there. Sales would have to rely primarily on promotional efforts by Seven-Eleven, but the company was making no specific commitment for such efforts.
The company's most serious discussions at the end of 1996 were with a Japanese-American entrepreneur who offered to oversee marketing and distribution of Ben and Jerry's products in Japan. Ken Yamada, a third generation Japanese American from the US, had obtained and successfully started building the Japanese franchise for a major US pizza