An Inside-Out Guide to Sell on Rakuten in 2021
Running short of time? Get PDF of the blog in your mail.
What started as encashing “Optimism” the literal meaning to Rakuten in 1997 by Hiroshi Mikitani, came out to be global success acquiring 1.3 billion global members on the site. Holding an eCommerce dominance in Japan, prospects from around the world like you aspire to sell on Rakuten marketplace.
What is Rakuten?
Rakuten, referred to as “Amazon of Japan,” is a B2B2C platform known as Rakuten Ichiba. It is the largest eCommerce marketplace in Japan, offering eCommerce, fin-tech, digital content, and communication services to over a billion active users. It also helps 44,000 sellers to sell on Rakuten across 30 countries and regions across the globe.
In 2005, Rakuten global market shop from Japan started to expand outside of Japan through acquisitions and joint ventures. To grow 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 France, it is among the promising eCommerce marketplace of the US generating a revenue of approximately 7.2 billion U.S. dollars in the fiscal year 2018.
The company has vibrant marketing business Rakuten Marketing and has investments in Pinterest, Lyft, Careem, Cabify and more.
Therefore it’s a great platform to get started and connect with your target audiences. To clarify, this blog is a step-by-step guide that tells all about how to sell on the Rakuten marketplace. Here is the guide:
- Pros of selling on Rakuten
- Prerequisites to sell on Rakuten
- How to set up a store on Rakuten
- Best Practices You should follow
Advantages 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, who has made the Rakuten online marketplace as their sales channel. The benefits are as follows:
- More extensive Opportunity: Rakuten marketplace has a diverse network that includes e-commerce companies, logistics, marketing firms, and loyalty bonus programs such as Rakuten Viki, Rakuten Marketing, Rakuten Viber, and Rakuten Super Logistics.
- Personalized Storefront: Rakuten empowers 3P sellers to personalize their brand identity with customized storefronts and also own their policies.
- Excellent 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)
- 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
- Ample of Saving Options: Rakuten’s exceptional cashback offer known as Rakuten Super Points, helps you gain customer’s loyalty through repetitive purchases that they make. Super Points allows a cashback of 1% on each product’s price and lets customers redeem the same through the next purchase.
Prerequisites to Sell on Rakuten Marketplace:
Rakuten, beating the world’s champion Amazon, accounts for 27% of the eCommerce market share in Japan. However, In the U.S, it is proliferating with “Ebates” offering upto 40% cashback on purchases and plentiful ways to collect Bonus points, thus helping you earn from repeated buyers. It nearly takes one and a half months to get your Rakuten seller portal live on the site finally.
To sell on Rakuten e-commerce marketplace, you need to have:
- An account on the Rakuten seller portal.
- Your products with one of the following barcodes- UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN.
- Own Brand name (you can use your name as well) and
- A unique manufacturer id ( to ensure you own a business)
- After screening & confirmation, List your products in either of 4 ways: RMS web tool, FTP feeds. Open API or Third-party integration.
Requirements when you’re based on Rakuten in USA:
If your business is outside the U.S., then you must meet all of the following criteria 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 for U.S. customers
If you do not belong to either Japan or the USA:
In case you are a seller based on any other country than Japan and the US, you can still sell on Rakuten marketplace with the help of the third-party partners approved by Rakuten.
For this, you need to sign a contract with any of the service providers, which in turn will handle all your setup, administrations, and operations of your store. You can contact their Support Center.
In 2010, Rakuten acquired PriceMinister, a leading online marketplace of France. Being the market leader, among others, Rakuten France accounts for over 22 million members with 10 million active users, majorly from France and adjoining countries like Switzerland, Belgium, and Canada.
If you wish to put forward your store on Rakuten France, consider the speedy solution to this through online eCommerce Solutions.
Major Product Categories on Rakuten
“Shop Japan. We ship worldwide, bringing Japan directly to you” — Rakuten keeps it very simple when it comes to the things you are permitted to sell on it. From the tech products to the trending fashion, from baby essentials to office supplies. However, If you are a creator, dealer, or owner of any of the product categories below, extend your shop/product to showcase on 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
How to become a seller on Rakuten?
Rakuten is an invitation-only e-commerce marketplace. Therefore, merchants need to get approved before they can start selling on their platform.
If you are based in the U.S., You can apply here
If you are based in France, You can 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 three ways to do it:
- Upload manually using Rakuten’s web tool
- Batch upload via feeds
- Use a third-party service provider
What are the seller fees on Rakuten?
Rakuten has three types of seller 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%|
|Video Games and Software||10%|
|Health & Beauty||15%|
|Home, Outdoor, and Pet Supplies||15%|
|Jewelry & Watches||15%|
|Personal Electronics, Accessories, and Hardware||8%|
|Everything Else (not included in other categories)||15%|
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).
What about Shipping and Returns on Rakuten?
You are free to create and customize shipping and return policies for your shops. Through the Rakuten seller portal, you can either choose any of the shipping partners (recommended by Rakuten) or can go for any other shipping services according to your needs and requirements.
Make Sure your products come under the permissible guidelines. To ensure the safety of the buyers, Rakuten does not let you sell some products, Find here.
How to increase sales on Rakuten?
Maximum Shipping options: Though customers prefer Free Shipping, it’s always advantageous to offer maximum possibilities. You can add up to 20 shipping options.
Listing Optimization: Similar to significant 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 four results:
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 descriptions. This includes HTML tags as well.
Custom Products pages: You can also create personalized product pages for each of your offerings. On these pages, you can include a product demo video, keyword-rich product Titles and Descriptions, and Catchy product images. On the other hand, having a customized and alluring product page deliver clear and concise information about your product and, in turn, works as a brand recognition strategy.
Invest in Promotional measures: Rakuten is a highly promotional online marketplace that offers a lot of ways of savings to the buyer. One of the primary reasons people like shopping on Rakuten is the Super points they collect during events and also by regular purchases. Moreover, You can invest organically to various promotional offers like Cashback, festive discounts, and Limited period offers and deals to attract a large chunk of buyers to your store.
Where to Start?
Although Rakuten is a big fish of Japan, it is also building a competitive market in the U.S and European countries like its counterparts Amazon and eBay. Rakuten has been acquiring a substantial reach through easy account-setup and lower costs.
Rakuten also released a mid-term strategy plan names “Vision-2020,” where it plans to achieve operating income of about (US$2.7 billion) by 2020, focusing on the open platform cashback membership program “Ebates,” and Rakuten.com marketplace. It can be a great channel to garner additional sales in 2020.
If you have any further questions related to Rakuten, drop your comments in the section below!