Back in August, Rakuten announced that it would be transitioning Rakuten’s Play.com over to Rakuten.co.uk. This decision was part of the Japanese e-commerce giant’s plan to offer ‘global borderless shopping in the future’.
Rakuten.co.uk went live this October for merchants, and while this new marketplace will initially run concurrently with Play.com, the Play.com marketplace will effectively close in the first quarter of 2015, and all traffic will be directed to Rakuten.co.uk.
As the third largest marketplace in the UK, Play.com has been a popular marketplace for UK retailers and consumers alike. So what will this transition mean for retailers, and what are the differences between the two platforms? Here, we’ll look at some of the top questions retailers are asking about Rakuten.co.uk.
Who/what is Rakuten?
Rakuten Group is one of the world’s leading internet service companies and is listed on the JASDAQ, providing a variety of consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce. Rakuten Group is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.
What exactly is changing?
Rakuten launched the global Rakuten brand in the UK this month, introducing the brand-new e-commerce site, Rakuten.co.uk. The new e-commerce site is part of the new Rakuten Global family and is focused on connecting unique, interesting retailers with new customers. Rakuten.co.uk is being launched on a new international e-commerce platform, as part of a move toward global, borderless shopping.
When is it changing?
Rakuten.co.uk rolled out this month in the UK. By March 2015, Rakuten’s Play.com will close and redirect site traffic to Rakuten.co.uk.
Why is Play.com closing?
The Rakuten Group has decided to move all its e-commerce marketplaces businesses onto one global platform. This platform benefits 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 toward the global platform in its European subsidiaries with the launch of Rakuten.co.uk. This is hugely exciting and will strongly support future growth of the marketplace model and Rakuten within the UK and Europe.
Why should I move my business to Rakuten.co.uk?
Rakuten is passionate about empowering merchants to grow their businesses online and has proven global success in achieving this. The marketplace is committed to growing in the UK and is making significant investments. Working with Rakuten.co.uk will enable merchants to be part of that group, and in the future, unlock the potential of cross-border trade with the Rakuten Group in Europe and globally.
What does the Rakuten.co.uk launch mean for customers?
The new Rakuten marketplace will offer a brand new online shopping experience for consumers. Not only will this marketplace connect customers directly with hundreds of unique retailers, but it will also offer a loyalty scheme allowing customers to collect Super Points. Customers can collect 1 point for every £1 spent, and 100 points are worth £1, which can be spent on anything on the site.
Will current Play.com listings be visible on Rakuten.co.uk?
No, listings won’t be migrated over from Play.com to Rakuten.co.uk, so you’ll need to take action. Speak to your account manager at Rakuten’s Play.com for support in setting up your account on the new Rakuten platform.
What does the Rakuten.co.uk launch mean for new merchants?
Many retailers are interested in joining Rakuten.co.uk. Many are excited by the opportunity to join a new marketplace with global possibilities, as well as take advantage of the personalisation opportunities that Rakuten offers.
Retailers can personalise their online shops with branding, categories, products and stories, create exclusive offers that can be promoted directly through their own email database and build a strong relationship with customers through marketing, customer service and the Rakuten Super Points loyalty scheme.
When will ChannelAdvisor support the new platform?
ChannelAdvisor will provide a date as we get closer to the launch. We will alert all customers about updates through email and the SSC.
If you’re interested in broadening your horizons to new marketplaces, this eBook offers retailers insight into marketplaces worldwide that offer excellent opportunities for international expansion.
Blog post by Michele Maginty, partnerships manager, EMEA, at ChannelAdvisor.