We Offer an Open Platform for Customers and Producers|Shoichiro Iwata President & CEO ASKUL Corporation|Interviewed June 2015
  • Innovating Our Way to Solutions, Renewing Our Governance System
  • The EC Marketing Lab and Evolving Our Platform Closer to the Social Optimum
  • Innovating Collaboratively: “Diversity for Vitality”
  • Continuing to Evolve Toward Our Ideal

Innovating Our Way to Solutions, Renewing Our Governance System

Three years ago, in response to customers who told us they wanted to use ASKUL at home, we launched a comprehensive Internet mail-order service for the general public. As information technology takes on ever-increasing importance in society, what we are seeing change very rapidly—along with the industrial structure—are the social needs being met by e-commerce (EC).
As a company whose mission is to evolve for the sake of our customers, we at ASKUL have always acted on our belief that solving social issues through our business is our true corporate role and contribution to society.
We believe that to evolve our business model into a more efficient platform—one that is easier on our customers, communities, and the global environment—is an important step toward achieving social optimization, and that efforts to build a sustainable society, including action against climate change, are an essential part of corporate citizenship.
In the fiscal year ended May 2015, in order to move forward with new value creation while fulfilling our social responsibilities, we reorganized our governance system at every level, starting with our CSR Committee. We are committed to address social issues with a medium-to long-term perspective as we map out the company’s course and maintain thoughtful relationships with our stakeholders.

The EC Marketing Lab and Evolving Our Platform Closer to the Social Optimum

In February 2015 we launched the second stage of the LOHACO EC Marketing Lab. This involves demonstration tests and implementation of web marketing in collaboration with over 50 global suppliers.
What the makers want and what we want is the same: to offer customers best value propositions.
By embracing big data, we can help customers understand what producers are offering them, and help producers understand their customers, with a depth that has not been possible till now.
I believe it is part of ASKUL’s social mission to use our expertise to provide this kind of open platform where customers and producers can interact.
In seeking to create a society where people can live well, we envision a new EC where customers are informed not only of the affordable prices of the products but also of the producer's aspirations and values. By establishing this kind of EC, we hope to offer producers and buyers common ground where they can connect with greatest efficiency. We will convey to customers the values inspiring those who make or grow what they buy, whether they be dedicated makers living in a small town in Japan or farmers who put their hearts and souls and hard work into growing delectable rice.
Creating a platform that serves a growing community should ultimately contribute to a society where people live well.
In this new kind of EC, the personal touch gives the buyer both a sense of security and a genuine appreciation of the maker’s work.
To realize this possibility is, as I see it, ASKUL’s raison d’être and role in society.

Innovating Collaboratively: “Diversity for Vitality”

Together with our customers and the community, each member of our team at ASKUL is also a stakeholder essential to the company's sustained growth. We couldn’t expect to bring happiness to our customers if we weren’t happy in our work.
Retaining talented people and giving each full scope to realize his or her abilities makes a company more competitive. This is another area in which I see innovation as increasingly necessary.
In April 2015, we issued a commitment that the company will strongly support full-fledged measures for diversification.
Under the slogan “Diversity for Vitality,” we have launched initiatives to promote diversity proactively in our workforce. This, too, reflects our readiness to innovate as we pursue the company’s mission to evolve for our customers’ sake.

Continuing to Evolve Toward Our Ideal

Advances in EC will help alleviate a number of social impacts and create time for individuals to live well, leading ultimately to a society that lives well. That is our ideal.
True to our mission of “Evolving for the sake of our customers,” we will become an ever-evolving company that is able to find solutions to society’s many challenges.
With this ideal in mind, I look forward to ASKUL’s continuing growth as a company that society will always need.

June 2015

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