Japan – a country of huge brands which are known all over the world. Surely, you have heard about Panasonic cameras, Yamaha motorcycles, Toyota cars or Casio watches. There is no wonder why Japan is one of the largest economic power countries. It is also a leader in electric energy producing and chemical industry. But there are not only fields Japan has gained a popularity on the cusp of years.
1. How to sell on Rakuten?
Along with e-commerce development, there have been more and more new internet platforms providing online shopping. Japan decided to create a marketplace like this one and let sellers put up their diverse products for auctions, where purchasers will be able to find all it is needed – from fashion accessories to office furniture. That place is called Rakuten and has become the biggest e-commerce platform in the world. That information has a ring to it for every online merchant, hasn’t it? Let’s take a look at what exactly Rakuten is and find out how to sell on Rakuten and reach out to new customers.
2. Rakuten Ichiba – what it is?
If you are wondering what Rakuten is, there is a very short and simple answer – optimism. That’s a meaning of the word from Japanese, but of course, it is something more than positive vibes (looking at Rakuten advance, even very positive). In brief, Rakuten was founded in 1997 by Hiroshi Mikitani and it is B2B and B2C Japanese marketplace online which operates in 29 countries.
Nowadays, the service is used by more than 20 million members with a revenue of 781.9 billion yen and is famous for its numerous joint ventures and acquisitions. For example, in 2013 it was an acquisition of Spanish video on demand (VOD), in 2014 Viber Media company for 905 million dollars and in 2018 this Japanese corporation mentioned about plans to launch its own cryptocurrency. As we can notice, Rakuten (well-known as Rakuten Ichiba) is something more than shopping platform, but it has been investing in many different rackets. We are able to pick over 70 lines of business Rakuten handles (excluding online shopping, naturally) such as banking, travel reservations, book distribution or mobile messaging.
2.1 Why it is worth to choose Rakuten?
There are lots of e-commerce platforms where you can sell your products online. Not without reason, Rakuten is the leader in this kind of business. Sellers are able to put their offers into several own pages so buyers can be directly taken to the merchant’s auction. There are no rules on how the product should be displayed – everything is up to a seller, from catalog categorization to photos and descriptions.
Every Rakuten seller can count on personalized guidance and outreach tools in case of some problems. There is a special E-Commerce Consultant (ECC) responsible for exploring the market and analysis trends – due to these actions you would be able to do your best in Rakuten sell. In addition, it is a pleasure to cooperate with a company which is the main partner of FC Barcelona football team and presents global pop stars like Shakira, isn’t it?
3. Let’s start selling on Rakuten!
On Rakuten store, we can find lots of popular brands such as Nike, Dell, Asics or Under Armour. But this marketplace is also a place for businesses like yours! What to do to be a part of Rakuten?
3.1 Rakuten seller account – the first step
The very first thing to start your adventure with Rakuten is applying to sell on Rakuten. You need to complete the form on the marketplace website – quote basic information like the business name, email address, annual online revenue or monthly target sales. Rakuten is a professional service, so verification of all data can take some time…
There is a consultant team which requires special documents about your company. It is necessary for screening. Rakuten group has to be sure you are a reliable entity and your business has been established indeed. This process can last about 2-3 weeks.
3.2 List your products
As we have noticed, on Rakuten you can find almost everything, but the service imposes some products restrictions, so you can not sell items such as black powder, goods lottery tickets, certificates, different testers, muzzle brakes or e-cigs. Presented marketplace also tries to protect trademarks and patents – without the approval of luxury fashion brand you are not allowed to sell Louis Vuitton or Chanel products. There is a detailed list of forbidden articles on the company website, so you need to check it out and make sure the products you offer aren’t in this catalog.
Back at the ranch, after successful verification of your company, it is the time for opening your own Rakuten store! There is a special Rakuten seller support which helps you with setting up and registration goods. Everyone wants to have a well-done page with an offer, so it needs time too. This open preparation can span even 1 month, but after that time you are able to build your brand and sell your items to millions of clients all over the world. What is more, you work with a consultant who specializes in e-commerce and is up to date with your actions.
3.3 Rakuten fees
Precisely, what about payments for services? There are Rakuten seller fees which are dependent on the country our company comes from and the plan we decide to follow. If you have a Japanese entity you have some options to choose from:
- Lite Plan
- Beginners Plan
- Standards Plan
- Mega Shop Plan
In this case, shipping is available only from a Japanese warehouse. Every one of these four plans includes one-time registration fee in an amount of 60.000 yen. The rest of Rakuten pricing, such as monthly fixed fee, contract period, listing capacity and system commission is connected with a type of the plan.
If you have US entity you are able to choose only two options:
- Japan Market Shop Plan Mega
- Japan Market Shop Plan
Registration Fee is 60.00 yen cost (like in Japanese entity case). Next, to this payment, there is a monthly fixed fee and affiliate fee. We can also point a card payment fee in the amount of 4.0%, whereas system enhancement charge is 0.1%. Both options include 1 year contract period and the same system commision – 3.5% between 5%.
Naturally, you can come from another country than the US or Japan. In this situation, you have to sign a special contract with operators ratified by Rakuten group, which would support your online store. Rakuten fees depend on the country your company is established – everything is an individual issue so the best option will be a contact with Rakuten group for more details.
4. Do your best with Rakuten products
OK, you have Rakuten seller account, your own store on the website and you are able to sell items. Everything seems to be easy now, but a matter of course, there can be some complications you have to face. For example, the language barrier – one of the most complicated thing which can lead to many misunderstandings. Keep in mind that Rakuten is a Japanese marketplace, so the web interface would be in this language, too. If you don’t know Japanese, find a person who is good enough in this field. It is all about selling in Japan so your store needs to be measured up to a domestic one.
4.1 Rakuten return policy
Wrong gift? Ill-fitting clothes? Overrated product? Certainly, we have bought something that did not meet our expectations. Instead of panic and thinking: What now!? there is always an option to return the product – even in Rakuten service. So you, as a seller, have to determine return terms in your profile. You can also require a buyer to request a return authorization. In this situation, a customer would contact you by a message and you are obliged to answer within two business days.
4.2 Logistic process by Rakuten
There is an option to use services of Rakuten Super Logistics in Japan (it is a kind of a counterpart of Fulfillment by Amazon). You can use a warehouse of Rakuten Ichiba – a place where you are able to store different Rakuten products, from furniture to pet supplies, and you do not have to worry about packing and shipping the goods. Presented solution can lead to distribution charges optimization and let you focus on sales promotion. What is more, Rakuten Super Logistics offers gifts packing, even for the huge amount of items.
4.3 Pay attention to the feedback
It is typical for online shopping platforms, that customer can leave feedback for the service, including an opinion about the product, shipment, and a seller. Keep in mind that Japanese clients make a point of quality so try to meet their expectations – in that you would gain in good recommendations which have an impact on the interest of your products and success of your business.
There’s no doubt Rakuten is a trusty marketplace. All verification processes, good quality products, and personalized seller support enhance a position of Rakuten in a worldwide perspective. No wonder it has become the largest internet store where we can find an array of different items. Selling on Rakuten is a good way to build the brand and conquer new markets. Let other customers find your products on Rakuten – professional online shopping platform for professionals, like you.
And there are also other marketplaces, such as Newegg which can also bring you customers from other countries – this is how powerful internet is nowadays.
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