Rakuten reveal closure plans for Play.com

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Our story earlier this morning about how play.com was not accepting new business has elicited a response from the Rakuten owned firm that we publish here in full:

“The Rakuten Group has taken the strategic decision to move all its e-commerce Marketplace businesses onto one global platform. The global e-commerce Marketplace platform creates enormous benefits to retailers and customers alike as they gain access to global marketplace products and customers plus all the advantages that a single platform brings.

As a result, Rakuten has accelerated the move to the global platform in its European subsidiaries with the launch of Rakuten.co.uk in October this year. This is hugely exciting, and will strongly support future growth of the marketplace model and Rakuten within the UK and Europe.

The existing platform and website Rakuten’s Play.com, will continue to operate through 2014 and be replaced by the new global platform and Rakuten.co.uk website in the UK in Q1 2015. The UK team are working hard with our global colleagues to deliver Rakuten.co.uk and will keep you updated on our progress.”

So, at first glance this is very interesting news and we can see it makes sense to consolidate all marketplace sales at Rakuten on a single marketplace. But it also creates a number of concerns for sellers and some of you will want them addressed quickly.

– With play.com going down and Rakuten.co.uk yet to be fully operational for the bulk of the Christmas 2014 rush, it would be wise to scrub it out of your forecasts. Additionally, in the transition, you’ve got to wonder whether it’s worth selling on play.com at all.

– Is your third-party provider already working with Rakuten, will they be able to hook you onto the new marketplace at launch, what are they doing to help you in this transition? We’d be interested to hear how the third party software providers are doing in making sure their customers get a good service during the change over.

– If you were thinking about play.com being a new channel, hold fire. Concentrate on other aspects of your business until after Christmas when we’ll be clearer about what’s going on.

How will this news affect you? We’d be interested to know.

13 Responses

  1. Not surprising news really, Rakuten is huge, lets hope they bring their sellers into check, service on play has been going downhill for the past year.

  2. A lot of my clients gave up on Play.com as the integrations were frustrating to say the least. Here’s hopin’ for Rakuten.co.uk!

  3. It will be very interesting to see the impact it will have on ebay.
    It will of course depend on pricing and policies but it appears so many sellers are unhappy with ebay that they are crying out to take there business elsewhere.
    For many it will depend on whether the multichannel companies can integrate fast enough.
    Theres never a dull moment in ecomerce!!!!

  4. Well it’s good news for the new platform, bad news for us sellers who have just paid their subscription payments for Play.com.

    To be honest I am very annoyed that as a seller on Play.com and have been so for a few years, that we had to find this out from Tamebay. Why have we not been contacted by Play/Rakuten to tell us this information first?

    I basically now feel I have paid my money to sell on a site that no one is now going to really updated, maintain or care about for the next few months.

    Also what a stupid time of year to make changes!


  5. I think it’s a really good idea to remove Play.com and replace it with something I can barely pronounce!

    They’ll be closed after Christmas… infact i’d put money on it!

  6. Our experience of a lack of orders on Play.com is not from lack of of interest – we get plenty of “orders” but they all end up as cancelled due to incorrect card or address details (if you don’t have many orders on Play and have never done a cancelled orders search do so – you may be surprised). I thought it was just people not paying attention and updating their details until it happened to me.

    I tried to purchase an item on Play (would have usually done so on Amazon, but they were out of stock, the only place showing stock was Play) and a few hours later got a message to say that the purchase wasn’t completed. I moved about 6 months ago and hadn’t bought anything on Play since then, so duly logged in and clicked edit Billing/ Delivery address. All seemed to be ok, but the county was missing. Shouldn’t have any effect I thought, but updated it anyway.

    The order confirmation never came. I contacted Play.com support, who said my billing details were still showing my old address. I sent her a screenshot showing the correct details at my end. She then said that I had to click on Payment methods and edit card (which was showing the correct details) then check that the dropdown list at the bottom is showing the correct address (which it was) and, crucially, even if nothing has been changed, click save anyway. That is the only way that the card details would be updated. Completely simple, and I’m sure all our customers will do this when trying to update their details(!)

    The order confirmation came through and I patiently awaited my purchase. Several days later a cancellation came through from the seller saying that “Play had matched an incorrect barcode to the item and that they had never stocked the item”. This was a complete lie of course – Amazon had sold out so they couldn’t order it cheaper from them.

    Personally, whilst I’ll be sorry to see Play.com, go and it will cause a major headache with our systems, it never really worked properly, and some of the sellers on there are awful. Hopefully Rakuten will be able to address this on the new site.

  7. The idea of merging into one large marketplace is good but it would make sense to keep the play.com domain rather than a longer and harder to remember one. Also get rid of the nonsense 6 month subscription!

  8. Rakuten is a joke, they are running all of their businesses into the ground…

    Go from play.com to something with no brand recognition. Closing for the holidays? Brilliant, I doubt it’ll relaunch in 2015.

  9. I have spoken to play.com and their merchant help desk and they have confirmed to me that they do not have a set date for the changeover but it is likely to be October or November depending on whether testing goes to plan. Any subscription on play.com will be carried over onto the Rakuten platform. As it happens I am in a situation where I have to renew for 6 months as of next week so it was a pressing issue. They also confirmed to me that there a number of changes like an improved listing structure that is not spreadsheet related and more like eBay which might comfort some people although the spreadsheet uploading system was never that hard anyway in my opinion. The Main concern we have is that they get the redirection of the domain right as the help desk guy couldn’t confirm whether the play.com would redirect to Rakuten straight away or there would be a message asking the customer to visit Rakuten which could cause problems to sellers due to the drop off in visitors.


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