to shut down on 24th March 2015

No primary category set

Play streaming media smPlay time is over. will fully take over from on the 24th of March in just two weeks time.

Play are giving details of the shut down to merchants according to Chris Dunne of SellerExpress, who says that merchants will have full access to their accounts until the 1st July, to fulfil any remaining orders, process refunds and handle outstanding customer queries. After that the site shuts for good. have undertaken to send merchants a full summary of transactions that took place on their account once it’s closed. However for some merchants this file may be too large to email in which case will be in touch to arrange an alternative delivery method. also say that there may be cases where they still need to contact merchants to resolve customer related issues after the 1st of July and therefore will still keep your details on file.

Rakuten want to remind sellers that is replacing in the UK and if you are not already trading on Rakuten you can register your interest they will be in touch soon. However we’re still hearing from sellers that have registered but not been contacted to have their accounts set up.

The big issue is how successful Rakuten will be and if they’re even ready to open for business, the number of listings on the site is still tiny in comparison with any other marketplace (including the number of listings still live on today).

We’ve been tracking four categories on Rakuten since the site opened last year and there’s no kind way to dress the numbers up. There’s practically nothing to buy on Rakuten and if you’re about to start paying a subscription for selling on the site it’s a waste of money.

Rakuten Inventory Growth vs

Category Rakuten
October 2014
January 2015
March 2015
October 2014
Laptops 27 52 57 17,397
Pets – Cats 456 498 508 1,607
Women – Footware 3 151 177 13,394
Home & Garden – Cookware 463 594 678 14,251
Baby – Pushchairs & Accessories
(NB No actual pushchairs listed)
30 136 156 1,264

The Rakuten warehouse is empty

WarehouseFrom the 24th March when finally closes the traffic will all be redirected straight to and buyers are going to desert the site in droves unless the number of listings increase dramatically in the next two week. It’s not that the site isn’t attractive, but with so little selection buyers simply won’t have anything to buy.

Are you planning to list your products on Rakuten before they close Have you registered to open an account and had your listings migrated over from

Time is running out and Rakuten have just two weeks left to get inventory on the shelves ready for the influx of customers. The 15 day countdown has begun.

15 Responses

  1. We would love to list on Rakuten, but since we registered our interest almost the week it was all announced last year we have heard nothing……

    I think it’s been a PR and communication nightmare and it’s been handled really badly. I am now in two minds that if they do approach should I waste my time listing on there?

    This must of cost the company a lot of money, however small the amount of sales we received from Play were in comparison to other sites, every sale still counts and over a year it adds up.

    It’s so poor for such a large company…

  2. I can’t believe how badly Rakuten have managed to mess this up. They came into a market with lots of sellers desperate for a new third alternative to Ebay and Amazon, both of which different people have different gripes about. There was some serious hype, and hope, about this being a new option but from the start things have been handled poorly.
    I went to see Rakuten speak at Catalyst a couple of years ago when they first took over Play and the talk was devoid of any sort of concrete plans, just lots of lofty promises and some vague statistics. Since then things do not seem to have improved. All I have read about is them communicating really badly with sellers & listing items being extremely difficult. The lack of inventory speaks for itself.
    It just seems to me like Rakuten have come to the UK without much strategy to speak of and they have reaped what they have sown.

  3. Never in the world of marketplace competition was so much promised and so little delivered!

  4. Rakuten demonstrates the problem with corporates. They’re often full of MBA fools who have no real business experience (hence they have to take an MBA to “learn” business).

    Most of us with SME’s could have told them where they were going wrong and what they would need to focus on to make a mark in this industry. They have the money and technology behind them but are seriously lacking in so many areas it’s quite sad.

    At this stage the management should be sacked and replaced. Alas as with all large businesses there is no way to communicate this to headquarters – as everyone would welcome a viable alternative to the abusive Amazon/eBay duopoly and Rakuten were one of the only serious contenders.

  5. We closed our site at the beginning of Feb and like some companies, dont make it easy, ie you have to call them on their 0845 number or request closure by their contact us button.

    We tried the contact us button first, but no reply so we then phoned and the person said they will close it down, but somehow managed to suspend the account, which meant that i was charged another months fees, but to be fair, after calling them again they have now told me that they have closed the account properly and will re-fund the fees.

    We did get a reply to our contact us request, 3 weeks after sending it!!

    I also registered interest when we first knew about it, but nothing, i think i will have more chance getting Top Gear tickets .


  6. Rakuten would have to pay me for my time if they wanted my stock.

    Then they would have to let me trade for free for a trial period.

    I’m guessing I won’t get either so I’m not the slightest bit interested.

  7. I spoke to a rep of Rakuten at an event about 12 months ago. Essentially he told me not to bother listing on there for a couple of years.
    They seemed to be pricing themselves out of the market for sellers, too much initial outlay, no trial periods, nothing to put them ahead of, or even on a par with, Ebay or Amazon.
    Given the amount of money they are/were supposed to have had behind them I can’t understand why there’s been such a delay.
    The likeliest explanation is that they weren’t doing well enough to proceed with growth as they were meant to be doing.

  8. I used to sell occasionally on before all the small fry sellers were swept away but, more importantly, I used to buy quite a lot from them. Looking at as a buyer (i.e. another one of those people their management has forgotten about) I totally disagree with what’s written above – the site *is* unattractive. It’s a complete mess. Trying to find just ONE item produces page after page of results. It’s not like an eBay clone, it’s like someone tried to clone one of those fake shopping sites that Google like to take paid adverts for all the time. How long before they’re pulling out the the UK and focussing on Japan where apparently this one-size-fits-all approach works? Anyway, who cares what customers want, eh?

  9. “we’re still hearing from sellers that have registered but not been contacted to have their accounts set up.”

    I’m one of these sellers. Have registered several times over the past few months without any response or contact. Shame really, considering I’ve been a pro merchant seller on play for 8 years.

  10. We are another long term “pro merchant” on Play and like most of the comments on here cannot believe the pathetic, unprofessional, screw up Rakuten have made of what should have been an easy transition!
    How can it take 5 months to contact existing sellers and migrate them to the new site? Although thinking about what a dogs dinner things like product uploads were on Play, if the same people are responsible then perhaps none of us should be surprised!
    But surely the projected commission income from the few thousand items available on Rakuten must be obvious to the people in charge?
    As I have said before on here – Tamebay should ask the questions we are highlighting on here and try to get some answers.
    After 24th March the key thing will be all those thousands of active buyers on Play will just migrate not to Rakuten but to Amazon and EBay and changing buyers habits as we all know is difficult so it will be a non-recovable situation for them.

  11. This is so frustrating from Rakuten. they should absolutely have this sewn up and with the current dissatisfaction of sellers on eBay, they could have a real competitor to them very quickly.
    they have *really* cocked this up and if they just listened to us they could have this sorted out.
    It’s just too late. A good example to others of what NOT to do.

  12. I signed up ages ago also and never received a reply back, i thought i had upset someone at rakuten!

    its so sickening though , this time last year play was accounting for 20% of my sales even though you couldnt find a decent repricer to work with it, ive found my amazon sales have increased by 20% this year so clearly people are now going to them

    such madness, why buy a site which was a great little marketplace and just crash it and replace it with something no one has heard of????

  13. it’s kinda sad… I was a regular costumer of the website, only had a problem once, and was rapidly solve. Now I can’t even access my account, I’m scared I’ll loose my super points, almost 30€ in points Argh!!!



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