It’s that time of year again – survey time! It’s been around six months since we did our first user survey for Otsukai and we have already made numerous changes and alterations to the site since then based on your invaluable responses.
Although we only posted the results for the Winter survey quite recently, feel free to check it out here:
Otsukai Survey Results (Winter 2019)
On 2 August 2019 we sent out another survey to all our dear users at Otsukai who had completed at least one order. As of 13 August 2019, out of the ~900 emails sent, 104 of you were kind enough to give us your thoughts and feedback and filled out the survey, which is more than twice as many as last time! Thank you so much! These users were once again offered a $3 cashback on one of their completed orders as a little thank-you from us.
We depend on feedback to improve and grow and make the best possible experience for all our users on Otsukai. We are really grateful for your time and carefully read and take into consideration each and every one of your responses.
Below are the questions we included in our questionnaire, the users’ replies and some comments from us. The questions marked with a star were compulsory to answer.
1) Email address*
2) Please insert the URL of the Otsukai order you would like to get the cashback for.*
The answers to questions 1) and 2) were only important for us to conduct the cashback and will therefore not be disclosed.
3) Where did you learn about Otsukai?*
Similar to our last survey, Facebook and Instagram were the most common answers to this question. Other answers people gave were from our news site MANGA.TOKYO, Google searches for particular items, Reddit, My Figure Collection or recommendations from friends.
4) Why did you decide to try Otsukai?*
Almost 70% of the answers to this question said the main reason they signed up was that they were looking for an item that was either very rare, exclusive/limited or that they simply could not find it for sale anywhere else. Some users said that while they had found the item on marketplace sites such as eBay and Amazon, it was hugely overpriced and they had hoped to find it at a more reasonable price point on Otsukai. Some users told us that they live in countries where there are very few to no or anime conventions or physical stores selling Japanese merchandise and goods, so for them websites like Otsukai are their only option.
Other users said they were simply curious after hearing about Otsukai and wanted to try it out. Some said that they thought it looked simple and easy to use and felt it was trustworthy compared to other places they had seen. A few even said they thought the prices looked really reasonable and wanted to give it a go.
5) Based on your experience, what did you like about Otsukai?*
Many users commented on how easy and quick the whole process was from start to finish. We have tried to simplify and streamline Requests and transactions with Otsukai as much as possible and are very happy to hear people find it easy to use.
Fast response from Friends
As many users talked about the fast response as they did ease of use. People said they were impressed with the speed Friends respond to their Requests with, offering a great range of items very quickly. They also commented that it’s fun to get Offers for items slightly different than what they asked for – it meant sometimes they discovered a new item they didn’t even know they wanted!
I found what I was looking for!
It sounds simple – but it’s the most important answer here! After all, that’s what Otsukai is here for, right? We were very pleased to see a large portion of users so happy that they simply found exactly what they were looking for. More than anything else, we hope that’s what will bring you back.
A number of users mentioned the Otsukai support team in their replies, saying how friendly helpful they have been. We work hard every day trying our best to assist our dear users whenever they need us, and are really glad to see people have had positive experiences!
6) Based on your experience, was there anything about Otsukai that you didn’t like?
Many users expressed their desire to be able to communicate directly with the Friends to ask questions about their Offers. This also came up last time we conducted a survey. While it is still possible to communicate with Friends by either raising a ticket with support or via the Request timeline by updating your Request, users noted that while they are aware they are able to do this, it doesn’t feel intuitive and they would prefer a direct live chat or private messaging feature. We understand why people feel this way and agree that perhaps it’s not the most straightforward way to talk to other users, but the language barrier is still a large concern. Even without a chat feature we are still occasionally having communication issues with Japanese Friends attempting to write messages in English with very limited language skills, resulting in confusion and in some cases, cancelled orders.
We want to do all we can to prevent cases like this as it is really disappointing for the user who was unable to get their items. If we implemented such a feature, it would just not be feasible for the support staff to monitor every single private message between the global users and the Japanese Friends, and it’s very likely that due to miscommunications people would end up receiving items or orders different than what they were expecting. Even so, we are trying to think of ways we can improve communication between users in a way that is manageable. We appreciate your patience with us regarding this matter.
Many users also talked about prices on Otsukai, some saying they think Friends have a tendency to inflate prices unfairly. While some people may not be aware of this, as part of our duties as the support team the staff here at MANGA.TOKYO are constantly monitoring new Requests and Offers every day as they come up, as well as – when we have the time – making our own Offers. We do this to ensure the rules are being followed by users on both sides. This also means we are generally aware of the marketplace value of most of the items being requested and offered on Otsukai as we too make and fulfil Offers.
We have seen very few instances of a Friend offering a price way above its market value, and suppose that maybe some users don’t quite understand how prices are calculated here on Otsukai. Here is an example of how an item may seem very high compared to what you were expecting, using a real example.
You saw those super-cute little Jojo plushies online and really want one of your favourite character, Bucciarati.
You’re not sure how much it costs since it’s a crane prize, but it can’t be that much, right?
A Friend makes you an offer for 120.22 USD after searching for the item online for you. How can it cost this much!? The Friend must be adding a huge amount to this cost, right?
Let’s see…the anime just finished airing, it’s a super-popular series as it is, and these items in particular are crazy in-demand right now. Also, they came out a while ago – October last year.
The Friend finds a single listing for Bucciarati on flea market website Mercari for 8,000 JPY. Ouch. But they know you really want it, and since it’s so valuable, they only feel safe shipping it fully insured, so they offer EMS shipping which costs 2,000 JPY (for a package of this weight to North America). After adding packaging costs, the Friend inputs a price of 10,300 JPY into Otsukai when making you the offer.
The system first converts this price into USD (99.04 USD) and then adds the PayPal (8%) and system charge (10%) on top of the Friend’s price, which in this example comes to 21.18 USD. And that is how you received an offer for 120.22 USD.
As you can see, the item is simply being offered at the price it is available for, including all fees and shipping. If you can see a listing online somewhere at a price point you’re willing to pay, please do link it in your Request for the Friend to purchase from for you. If you are able to purchase the item yourself from elsewhere for less – please do! Otsukai by nature may not always be the cheapest option as it is a proxy-shipping service, meaning there will always be extra service charges on top of item costs. For new items, if you are able to buy directly from a supplier such as AmiAmi or CDJapan, we recommend that you do that, as the only costs you would be paying is the item price and shipping to you.
If you ever see an item price you suspect is being unfairly marked-up by the Friend, please don’t hesitate to report the item to the support team. We will investigate and act accordingly. Friends who regularly make unfair Offers will be blocked from Otsukai.
Some people also complained that they aren’t getting any Offers, or they keep getting Offers for items different than what they asked for. This could be for a number of reasons:
- Your Request was too vague and people don’t know what to offer you
- You added a budget in your Request that is simply not possible for the item you have asked for
- You have made too many Requests but few to no purchases, so Friends feel that making offers to you is pointless
- The item you asked for is currently unavailable, but Friends are trying to offer you something similar instead in consolation
We have a helpful guide to assist you with making the best possible Request, plus lots of other info. If after considering the above points you still don’t understand why you aren’t getting Offers, or have any questions regarding your request, please feel free to contact us by opening a ticket with the support team.
A few other things people mentioned are things beyond our control, such as long shipping times or expenses. We have no say in how much JP Post’s shipping rates are. If you feel your item has taken too long to arrive, don’t forget you can specifically ask for EMS or DHL shipping in your Request if you need to. All shipping options on Otsukai are fully trackable.
Finally – many users said that there was nothing they didn’t like. Wow! Thank you!
7) Is there a feature you’d like to see on Otsukai in the future?*
I want to be able to contact the Friends
Following on from the last question, the most requested feature was a method with which users can contact Friends. As mentioned above, we are considering this option and we appreciate your patience with us regarding this matter.
If you are using the web/desktop version of Otsukai, there has already been a search function for some time, with which you can browse Offers and Requests by keywords and categories. The app at this time has no such function, but in truth it’s not something we feel users need. Even if you searched through Offers and found something you wanted, there is no guarantee that you would be able to buy it as it probably won’t be an Offer to a Request you have made, neither is it guaranteed to be an Open Offer. Otsukai is not a shop where you search for items, but rather a service where you simply make a Request for the item you are looking for. Therefore, this sort of feature is not something we are prioritizing at the moment.
Duplicate requests/”request this item again” button
A few users said they would like to be able to duplicate Requests they have made in the past so they can Request them again easily without filling out all the details. We think this is a great idea and we have passed it onto our development team for consideration.
Accept more than one Offer at a time
Some users said they want to be able to purchase one Offer or more at the same time – maybe something like a cart function where you add multiple Offers to your cart and then checkout all of them at the same time. We think this is a good idea too and will consult with our development team.
I wanna sell stuff too!
This came up a few times in different questions during the survey. We are sorry, but Otsukai is a service for Japan-only items that are only available here. If we opened up selling to users who live outside Japan, there would be no way to regulate the authenticity of products being sold using Otsukai. If you want to sell your own things online we recommend you make an account on eBay, Mercari etc.
This is another great idea one user had in particular – a browseable, visual tag cloud where you can view popular or commonly used tags for Offers or Requests. While it might be a useful to people to help them think of what to ask for when making requests, it’s similar to the search function in that we are not sure what the end goal of such a feature would be, so it probably won’t be considered with any priority – but it’s a nice idea all the same, so we will pass it onto our development team.
8) Besides PayPal, are there any other payment options you’d like to be able use on Otsukai?*
An overwhelming 71% of users said they like PayPal and want to stick with using it as their main payment option on Otsukai. Another 20% said they would like to be able to pay by credit card, another option we have been considering adding.
9) Is there another website or store you usually purchase Japanese merchandise from?*
Users listed a number of stores that import Japanese items such as Tokyo Otaku Mode and Otaku Republic. Proxy-shipping service FromJapan was also mentioned, as well as Japan-based shops such as AmiAmi, CDJapan, Solaris Japan and Mandarake. Some users mentioned sites like Mercari Japan, Otamart and Yahoo Auctions, all of which must be used with a proxy (like Otsukai!). Amazon and eBay were also frequently given as an answer to this question.
10) Which websites do you frequently use?*
Many people said they use the big social media sites Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr. Others mentioned were Youtube, Reddit, Amazon, Crunchyroll, My Figure Collection, DeviantArt, Pixiv and Twitch.
11) Do you have any favorite Influencers, YouTubers or Twitch streamers?*
People mentioned they frequently watch Japan bloggers such as Abroad in Japan, Rachel and Jun, Sharla in Japan and Tokidoki Traveller. Other Youtubers include Jacksepticeye, Game Grumps, nigahiga, Little Kuriboh, Kuvshinov Ilya, Markiploier and Jenna Marbles. It was interesting to see the range of things our users watch!
12) Do you have anything you would like to tell us here at Otsukai? Let us know!
Even though this box is intended for any information you might want to give us that didn’t fit elsewhere in the questionnaire, so many of you use it to leave us lovely messages. Thank you so much for your continued support! We really hope you enjoy using Otsukai and hope to see you again soon.
‘You guys are fantastic!’
‘Thank you for providing an awesome service!’
‘Just thank you! I adore your site and thank you for making a site that allows foreigners easy access to Japanese items!’
‘This is a great site with a great idea behind it :)’
‘keep on’ keepin’ on’
‘Keep up the good work! You’re doing great!’
‘I love dangos!’
MANGA.TOKYO are currently running a proxy service!
If you are hoping to buy these goods and need some help getting hold of them then let us know! You can find more details here: