Since our post this morning on the first 3 Months of Rakuten without Play.com, we’ve received a number of comments from readers. We thought we’d share the experience of one Tamebay reader who, like many of you, first registered their interest in selling on Rakuten in the latter stages of 2014.
It’s interesting to see the process and also there are some useful links below for interested merchants, for example links to the Rakuten API documention and other resources you may need. If you want to join the Rakuten marketplace here’s what to expect:
27th April 2015 – First contact from Rakuten
It seems like a long time from Autumn 2014 to April 2015, but Rakuten have said that they only want quality merchants who offer customers a good shopping experience and service so they keep coming back. It may be taking time to vet all the interested sellers wanting to sign up.
Firstly we would like to thank you for your recent enquiry to join our brand new UK Marketplace – Rakuten.co.uk. We have had a successful launch, which we are excited to share with your company, and look forward to helping you build new customers and sales on our new platform.
The Next Steps
The step by step process to get live on site is as follows:
1. Review the available tariff plans and respond to this email with your preferred choice.
2. We will send a link to our online sign up form. Please fill in and submit your details.
3. We will then request specific documents about your business. Having these readily available will be beneficial to getting your shop live faster.
4. We will arrange an on-boarding call to demonstrate how you can set-up and organise your shop.
5. Once your shop is built we will review internally to get you live and ready to trade!
We look forward to your email confirming your preferred tariff plan and welcoming you onto rakuten.co.uk!
Your Rakuten Team
27th April 2015 – Tariff plan agreed
The seller responded with their preferred subscription plan and got a very quick response the same day.
We would like to thank you again for being a Rakuten UK merchant and for accepting our terms of service on 27.04.2015 to establish your Rakuten Merchant Shop. This email serves to acknowledge and confirm your acceptance. We greatly value our relationship and welcome your feedback about our services. If we can be of any assistance to you in answering questions or provide other support, please contact Bruno Mertins at [email protected]. Thanks again for being a Rakuten UK merchant.
11th May 2015 – Legal Documentation
You’ll need some paperwork – articles of association, bank statements, passport etc. The seller tells us that Rakuten will only accept originals which is a bit of a problem for those who have online bank statements. They had to order a physical hard copy statement from their bank in order to scan it and send it over!
Thank you for completing your Signup form.
All we now require is the relevant supporting legal documentation of your business as detailed below:
Please attach the required documents in a response to this email along with the completed forms we provided. Once we then receive these documents they will be processed by our RPSS (Rakuten Payment Solution S.A) team. Upon successful approval you will be legally authorised to immediately start trading on our marketplace.
Thank you for your co-operation and we look forward to getting your store prepared to start selling. As always, should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email ([email protected] ) and we will get back to you immediately.
Your Rakuten Team
13th May 2015 – Help creating your store
We would like to thank you for providing us with the required Legal Documentation. This will be evaluated by our legal department.
Whilst these checks are taking place we would like to take the time to help you make the first steps creating your store and making your way onto our exciting new Marketplace.
We offer you technical support throughout the process of creating your store and would kindly like to ask for approximately 30-60 minutes of your time to get this started. During this time we require you to be at your computer and have internet access, so we can set you up with your Rakuten Account and talk you through these first steps.
Please reply to this email with a preferred appointment. (Monday – Friday 9a.m. – 5 p.m.)
For your reference we recommend to check out our Rakuten Academy
It contains online documentation on various topics, such as:
Steps to Going Live: https://academy.rakuten.uk.com/steps-to-going-live/
Merchant Library (incl. API-Documentation): https://academy.rakuten.uk.com/merchant-library/
Thank you once again and we look forward to helping you create a great looking store.
Central Merchant Support
19th May 2015 – Finally set up
We’re happy to report that by the 19th of May the seller had all their login details and had been helped through the procedure by the Rakuten team.
They’ve some insights, tips and advice for other sellers following in their footsteps. Signing up for Rakuten is not like signing up for an eBay or Amazon account, as in this case it took a month to get going (or 6 months if you count the time from when they first expressed interest in selling on Rakuten!)
We’re told that the Rakuten system is way better than the complex system Play.com sellers were used to. Uploads can be done via CSV and uploading 3500 products was apparently relatively easy which is welcome news.
One of the requirements for your Rakuten store are that you have to have some store categories, these are your OWN store categories rather than Rakuten’s categories. They have a customer facing name but also a back end unique ID, so you can use that with your csv uploads.
However two things to bear in mind, there isn’t an automated way to create the categories, it has to be done by hand. Then you’ll find out that the Approval team won’t approve your store if there are any empty categories. Only create categories initially that you can populate immediately with products. You can hide empty store categories but only by clicking into each category one by one and selecting “HIDE” and “SAVE”.
Where Rakuten is better than Play.com
Compared to play.com, our seller is pretty impressed with the way shipping options can be changed very easily to suit all items or small changes to some items. Another plus point is that play.com had a limit of 5 images per product whereas on Rakuten the limit is 10 images.
HTML restrictions on Rakuten
Finally to add a warning, although the description is classed as HTML it does have restrictions. Thinking an easy solution would be to use their eBay descriptions as they’re all HTML, on attempting to upload to Rakuten they failed.
The reason turned out to be that using color in the border command isn’t allowed. This banned HTML tag appears to be undocumented, although other banned tags are listed including <ARTICLE> <ASIDE> <AUDIO> <CANVAS> <FIGIMG> <FIGURE> <FOOTER> <HEADER> <HGROUP> <IFRAME> <MARK> <RP> <RT> <RUBY> <SCRIPT> <SECTION> <TIME> and <WBR>
Are you ready to sign up with Rakuten?
Six months from expressing interest to going live on Rakuten seems like a long time, although doubtless now their through their launch period this will speed up. However if you want to have your products live on their marketplace well before Christmas now would be the time to get started!
With multichannel support in place, getting your products listed should be a breeze, so the only real question is whether the £30 Starter, £120 Advanced or £400 Mega monthly subscription plan will generate the sales to make it worthwhile. There are selling fees on top of the month subscription fees to take into account, which range from 8% to 15% for Starter, 6% to 13% for Advanced and 5% to 12% for the Mega plan.
Are you already live on Rakuten? If so how are you sales going?