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As a potential customer, how should I start and end an email if I am emailing a business, for example, to ask about a product? How should I introduce myself? Would I need to use 謙譲語 and 尊敬語?

Additionally, what would be the difference between if I knew the name of the person I will be emailing and not?

I saw this question but it seems to only address the case that I have already interacted with the business in the past, which isn't the case.

  • As a representative of a company, or a consumer? – a user Nov 7 '14 at 14:41
  • Consumer (extra characters) – 小太郎 Nov 8 '14 at 2:10
  • 1
    こんなのでどうでしょうか?okwave.jp/qa/q4420913.html – user1016 Nov 9 '14 at 9:28
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Writing as a customer will be much easier than writing in business. You don't have to be too nervous. Using basic 丁寧語 (e.g. 思っています instead of 思っている) will suffice, though extra correct 謙譲語 (like 存じております) may somewhat improve your impression.

As for 尊敬語, I don't think you need it. But to add one point, utilizing the word 貴社 (or 御社) will be useful, like 貴社の製品 "your products".

You can start the letter with like "●●●● 様", or "●●●● 御中" (●●●● being the name of the company). If you know someone to write to specifically, then start it like "●●●● (department name) ○○○○様".

  • I modified my post and erased the word 株式会社. I thought it was rather optional. – isayamag Nov 9 '14 at 1:10
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Usually Japanese start or end an email with own name in business whether he is stranger or colleague.

for example like this

for a potential customer
はじめまして、○○社の△△と申します
今回は●●の件でメールをさせていただきました

for a colleague
△△です。お手数ですが今月分の支払いをお願いいたします

C2B 11/8 23:32(Japan time) rewrote
△△です。この度は●●社の○○という件についてお伺いしたいことがございます。

B2C 
●●社の△△です。この度は弊社製品をご利用していただきましてありがとうございます。

By the way, if you write or speak about your own thing, you should use 謙譲語.
謙譲語 are words or sentence which make the speaker so humble that the companion is higher in status than the speaker
And, if you refer about the companion, you need to use 尊敬語
. 尊敬語 are words or sentence which make the companion high in status.

  • あさのさん、参加してくれているのはみなさんがありがたいです。この質問は会社員として可能客へメールの書き方ではなく、可能な客様として会社へメールを書くことです。 – virmaior Nov 8 '14 at 10:06
  • また、追加として質問者は個人の身分のように([企業間取引]{B2B}ではない)聞いいています。 – virmaior Nov 8 '14 at 10:14
  • Thank you for your comment. usually Japanese tell own name on C2B B2B B2C – Asano Ryo Nov 8 '14 at 10:17
  • Yes, but the question was that he is the potential customer -- not the company. – virmaior Nov 8 '14 at 10:18
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    potential customer って、これから買い物するかもしれない人、って感じですかね・・・?例えばフツーの学生や主婦が、会社に「お宅の××っていう商品についてお聞きしたいんですが・・」ってメールする感じ? – user1016 Nov 8 '14 at 15:01

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