Sell on Rakuten: A beginner’s guide to get started and succeed in 2019
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To all the sellers based out of the USA and looking to increase their sales channels, selling on Rakuten, can be a good idea. The marketplace has 90 million annual visitors. Also, Rakuten is known for its Loyalty Bonus program – Rakuten Superpoints which means visitors convert to repeat buyers.
What is Rakuten?
Rakuten refereed to as “Amazon of Japan” is a B2B2C platform known as Rakuten Ichiba. It is the largest ecommerce marketplace of Japan. It also offers ecommerce, fintech, digital content and communication services to over 1 billion members across the 29 countries and region across the globe.
In 2005 Rakuten started to expand outside of Japan through acquisitions and joint ventures. To expand in the U.S. it acquired Buy.com which is now known as Rakuten U.S. Besides this acquired Viber (now known as Rakuten Viber), Viki (now known as Rakuten Viki), eBates, Overdrive and more. Now it has a burgeoning ecosystem is the U.S. and its among the largest ecommerce marketplace of the US by revenue.
The company has vibrant marketing business Rakuten Marketing and has investments in Pinterest, Lyft, Careem, Cabify and more.
Rakuten is super serious to grow and scale. To increase its footprint and boost brand image it has partnered with leading sporting clubs, leagues, and pop-stars such as FC Barcelona, NBA, Golden State Warriors, Rakuten Eagles, and Shakira.
Therefore it’s a great platform to get started and connect with your targeted audiences. This blog is a step-by-step guide which tells about the impact, benefits, how to get started and finally succeed; what to do and things to avoid when you plan to sell on Rakuten marketplace. Here is the guide:
- Pros of selling on Rakuten
- Prerequisites to sell on Rakuten
- Best Practices
1. Pros of selling on Rakuten:
Rakuten is chosen by big and small brands alike. There are already some top brands like Dell, Lenovo, Aosom, Altatac, Office Depot, Airweave, Dyson, Skymall and Tiger have made Rakuten online marketplace as their sales channel. The benefits are as follows:
a) Wider opportunity:
The Rakuten has a diverse network which includes e-commerce companies, logistics, and marketing firms and loyalty bonus programs such as Rakuten Viki, Rakuten Marketing, Rakuten Viber, and Rakuten Super Logistics.
b) Personalized storefront:
Rakuten empowers 3P sellers to personalize their brand identity with customized storefronts and also own their policies.
c) Great Services and Support:
Rakuten provides sellers with tools to boost their brand visibility, expert training and guidance, and actionable data to take action. It aligns every marketplace seller a dedicated E-commerce consultant (ECC)
d) Customer Outreach:
Reach old customers who have purchased from you through R-mail (an email marketing tool). However, it is not available at the launch. You can contact with your ECC in this regards and can also avail the information with this email → Merchants@marketplace.rakuten.com
2. Prerequisites to Sell on Rakuten Marketplace:
To sell on Rakuten e-commerce marketplace, you need to have:
- A seller panel.
- One of the following barcodes- UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN.
- A brand name (you can use your name as well)
- A unique manufacturer id.
Requirements when you’re based out of USA
If your business is outside the U.S., then you must meet all of the following requirements to sell on Rakuten:
- Hold U.S. bank and credit card accounts.
- Merchants need to have a W9 form before applying to become a merchant at Rakuten Marketplace.
- Rakuten.com will also accept a W-8 instead of W9 for merchants without United States tax status.
- Mandatory customer service email address answerable during U.S. business hours
- a U.S. customer service phone number (optional)
- Fast enough shipping time period for U.S. customers
Major Product Categories at Rakuten:
- Home & Outdoor
- Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories
- Beauty & Personal Care
- Sports & Fitness
- Bags & Luggage
- Pet Supplies
- Toys, Toddlers & Baby
- Food & Beverage
- Automotive & Parts
- Office Supplies
- Everything Else
What are the seller fees on Rakuten?
Rakuten has 3 types of fees:
- Individual Listing Fee (99 cents for each listing)
- Monthly account fee ($39/month)
- Category-wise commission as explained below:
|Apparel & Accessories||15%|
|Automotive & Powersports||12%|
|Everything Else (not included in other categories)||15%|
|Health & Beauty||15%|
|Home, Outdoor, and Pet Supplies||15%|
|Jewelry & Watches||15%|
|Personal Electronics, Accessories, and Hardware||8%|
|Video Games and Software||10%|
Merchants are paid weekly for orders. All orders completed between Tuesday 0:00 AM (PT) to the next Monday at 11:59 PM (PT) will be paid the following day (Wednesday).
3. How to become a seller on Rakute?
Rakuten is an invitation-only e-commerce marketplace. Therefore, merchants need to get approved before they can start selling on their platform.
To do this, apply here.
Once an application is listed, Rakuten takes 3-10 business days to screen the application, it largely depends on the catalog size as well. Once your application to sell is accepted, there are 3 ways to do it:
- Upload manually using Rakuten’s web tool
- Batch upload via feeds
- Use a third party service provider
4. How to increase sales on Rakuten?
Maximum Shipping options: Though customers prefer Free Shipping, it’s always advantageous to offer maximum options. You can add up to 20 shipping options.
Similar to major e-commerce marketplaces, Rakuten’s product search and recommendations take into consideration the keywords in the Title and product description.
Let’s take some examples to understand how? When “Sneakers” is entered in the search engine, these are the first 4 results:
Similarly, for UPS (Electronics category), the following results appear:
From these results, you can find out a standard Title making structure
Brand Name + One most common/popular feature + Most popular keyword
Write personalized product descriptions that contain Keywords, its advantages, features, and the USP. You can utilize 20,000 characters to write high converting product description. This includes HTML tags as well.
Although Rakuten doesn’t have e-commerce audiences comparable to the Amazon and eBay, it has substantial reach. It can be a great channel to garner additional sales in 2019.