Why you should sign up for Rakuten marketplace today

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Rakuten, the revamped Play.com platform, has had a new team put in place to support UK retailers wanting to sell on the platform.

We know there were significant teething problems when Rakuten.co.uk initially launched in the UK, but over the past month we’ve been talking to the Rakuten guys and they’ve assured us that these are all behind them.

Rakuten position themselves as unique in the marketplace business. They don’t have a competing retail business like Amazon does, and they don’t have a C2C business like eBay. Rakuten is a 100% marketplace for professional sellers, meaning that customers can buy from trusted merchants and merchants can trade knowing that the competition they face on the platform is coming from other merchants, not Rakuten or hobby sellers.

New streamlined approach for retailers in the UK

Signing up and getting started with Rakuten is the complaint we heard most frequently. Rakuten have done two things which will please merchants, the first of which is that they now have rolling monthly fees – no more signing up for six months in advance.

We’re also pleased to report that Rakuten have a new approach in place in the UK and at their EU HQ in Berlin that aims to make the entire process with us, from signing up to going live, as streamlined and easy as possible.

  • Sales Consultants will answer any questions that interested sellers may have, and help guide them through the signup process
  • Merchant Advisors are there to assist sellers with their Rakuten setup, helping with storefront design and getting products listed, be that through a multichannel platform or through our merchant toolbox.
  • Merchant Support will help merchants get the most out of their Rakuten stores once they go live, working with sellers to gain maximum exposure on the marketplace.

What do Rakuten offer?

  • No competing 1st party retail business
  • Fully customised storefronts and product listings for every merchant allow for a unique shopping experience
  • A platform for new customer acquisition. Rakuten fund acquisition campaigns for all eligible merchants, meaning they can concentrate on selling and Rakuten take care of the rest.
  • Integrations with all major aggregator platforms ensure that setting up and selling on Rakuten as part of a multichannel strategy couldn’t be easier
  • Simple and transparent fee structure. Rolling monthly fee plus commission based on final sale value are the only costs. There are no listing fees and no banking fees, meaning merchants are free to list as many products as they want and only pay commission when a sale is made. The monthly fee is cancellable at any time and there is no minimum contract length.
  • RakutenSuper Point loyalty scheme, which all merchants are automatically included in at no additional cost. Points are awarded to customers for any purchase on the site and can be redeemed against future purchases, with Rakuten absorbing the value of the points redeemed and the merchant always realising the full sales revenue.
  • Free e-commerce resources for all merchants. Our Rakuten Academy is a free resource that offers hints and tips on selling on Rakuten, but also on wider e-commerce topics as well. Merchant also have access to Rakuten’s Merchant Support team, who they can contact at any time to ask questions and to get help with selling on the platform. The Rakuten philosophy is that they only succeed when our merchants succeed, and their business model is predicated on that fact.

Which retailers are Rakuten looking for?

Rakuten are keen to engage with established retailers who already sell across marketplaces and their own websites, and who are looking for an additional sales channel. They have several focus categories for 2016 and are actively seeking merchants in these categories to bolster our offering. If you sell Fashion; Home & Garden; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoor; Pets; Groceries; or Toys & Baby then get in touch with Rakuten.

These categories have experienced massive growth over that last 12 months and Rakuten are driving them forward for the remainder of the year to help make the marketplace as diverse as possible.

15 Responses

  1. Just double checked and 44 sales since 17th July 2015.
    Not good whatsoever.
    I am thinking of knocking them on the head as it costing more with the monthly store subs.

    I am probably going to leave until after this Christmas but, for me, it just is not profitable, whereas ebay and amazon and website are.

    It’s sad considering the amount of work I put in to get the 4000 ish listings compliant and up and the category structure in place.

    You never know, it may change over the next 6 months or so but I am not so sure.

    I have to say that Bruno, at Rakuten, was very helpful in advice and communication but the one thing he can’t do is magic customers to part with their money B-)

  2. All very well but we need customers.

    We have taken a massive £12 in 2016!

    They need to focus on getting buyers there not sellers, if we don’t have buyers the sellers that are on there will leave, like us. I am also giving it until Christmas this year.

    We need information on what they are doing to get buyers there, I can’t live off £3 a month!

  3. I kinda echo the above. Bizarrely I just emailed the account manager yesterday as since July 2015 we sold £500 of items, but the monthly subs are £300 for that same time.

    Worst thing is, Rakuten can’t give any info on how to optimise for their search, or roughly how their ranking algorithm works so we can’t do anything to try and make it better, so I think its ‘Adios Amigo’ from us pretty soon.

  4. The problem with Rakuten is that they don’t realise that for all intents and purposes their marketplace has to act like a start-up as it has few buyers and few sellers.

    How do they think they are going to attract sellers to the website with monthly fees – when (as everyone above) has shown that the sales are pitiful. Monthly fees should be minimal and at this stage it should be purely a commission game. I’d be tempted to join if I was only paying a commission a sale (or something measly like £5-10 subscription) – but to pay £20-30?? a month for potentially 1 sale is hardly a viable proposition.

    Then they need to find ways to bring along buyers. This of course has to be their own marketing effort.

  5. “Sales Consultants will answer any questions that interested sellers may have, and help guide them through the signup process ”

    We contacted them to join 3 weeks ago… Apart from an automated reply we have had nothing back…

    We sell clothing & beauty products and after looking on the site we noticed that a lot of our stock is not sold on Rakuten so we would defiantly help to make their range more diverse – If the above is true about poor sales performance and the delay in replying to our request to join goes on much longer then we may just stick with eBay & Amazon…

  6. I have the products, but do they have the customers? I would need evidence/stats in advance before I spent the time (time is money).

  7. It is a shame. Rakuten are obviously massive in Japan and they have done well in France and US with their buyouts of marketplaces there.
    It seems that whoever is in charge of Rakuten in the UK just don’t get it. None of what they say matters if we are not going to get sales on their site. Every time we have had a look into it there just seems to be no one buying from our category. The amount of inventory in the category is laughable and it is not helped by the search being poor and bringing up some odd results.

    The listing process can be the hardest thing in the world but if there are sales to be had on the site then we will sell there. Simple.

    Possibly you would get some traction if you are in the media world that Play used to focus on

    BTW I am sure this is the 3rd or 4th time I have seen a press release where they say they have now sorted selling on the site. How many times can they get it wrong?

  8. Alan. Save yourself the hassle. I just wasted a couple of days setting up an account only to be told they wouldn’t allow me to set up 10 products to test the market. Just look at the traffic stats no one know about their site and even fewer people have accounts.

  9. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you’ve done a fantastic job with this. In addition, the blog loads super fast for me on Opera. Outstanding Blog!

  10. Same as the common thread above.. I even spoke to them face to face about my concerns at a trade show and they takled me into trying …. still not one sale – 1800 skus

  11. I dunno, we’ve contacted them numerous times this past year as .co.uk has none of our products. Never received a single reply beyond the automated one. I don’t expect personalised service but a short “Sorry we don’t think we can work with you at this time” would at least put the matter to rest. It’s just a little bit worrying considering their Alexa score has collapsed, something not helped by these stories of low sales.

  12. I saw Rakuten at IRX. Their pitch was that sales on their platform would start slowly but steadily grow if you put the work in. Where their presentation fell apart was that they clearly showed you’d need less effort and get more sales with Amazon. . Which matches my experience perfectly.


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