How to sell on Rakuten?

What started in 1997 as “Optimism”, the literal meaning of Rakuten, became a worldwide success, acquiring 1.3 billion members globally. Through their e-commerce domain in Japan, many people like you aspire to sell their products. Therefore, in this space we want to explain how to sell on rakuten.

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What is Rakuten?

How to sell on Rakuten?

The Rakuten portal or “Amazon of Japan”, is a B2B2C platform known as Rakuten Ichiba. It is the largest e-commerce market in Japan, offering electronics products, cutting-edge technology, digital content and communication services to more than one billion active users. It also helps 44,000 vendors market their products in 30 countries and regions around the world.

In 2005, Japan’s Rakuten online store began its international expansion through acquisitions and joint ventures. To grow in the US, it acquired, now known as Rakuten US. In addition to this, it acquired Viber (known as Rakuten Viber), Viki (known as Rakuten Viki), eBates, Overdrive, among other companies. It now has a flourishing ecosystem in this country and in France. It is within the thriving US e-commerce market generating approximately $7.2 billion in revenue in fiscal 2018.

The company has a vibrant marketing business, Rakuten Marketing, and has investments in Pinterest, Lyft, Careem, Cabify, and more. It is definitely a great platform to start and connect with your target audience.

How to sell on Rakuten?

In this article you will find a step-by-step guide on how to sell in the Rakuten market. It includes:

  • Advantages of selling on Rakuten
  • Prerequisites for selling on Rakuten
  • How to set up a Rakuten store
  • Best practices to follow

Advantages of selling on Rakuten

Rakuten is chosen by both big and small brands. There are some big brands like Dell, Lenovo, Aosom, Altatac, Office Depot, Airweave, Dyson, Skymall and Tiger that have made Rakuten online marketplace their sales channel. The benefits are as follows:

  • Biggest offer: The Rakuten marketplace has a diverse network that includes e-commerce, logistics, marketing firms, and loyalty bonus programs such as Rakuten Viki, Rakuten Marketing, Rakuten Viber, and Rakuten Super Logistics.
  • Custom Store: Rakuten allows 3P sellers to customize their brand identity with custom storefronts and also own their policies.
  • Excellent services and support: Rakuten provides sellers with tools to increase their brand visibility, expert training and guidance, and actionable data. Assign each marketplace seller a dedicated eCommerce Consultant (ECC)
  • Customer Support: You reach old customers who have bought from you through R-mail (an email marketing tool). However, it is not available from launch. You can contact your ECC in this regard and you can also make use of the information with this email
  • Extensive savings options: Rakuten’s exceptional cash back offer known as Rakuten Super Points helps you earn customer loyalty through the repeat purchases they make. Super Points allow a refund of 1% of the price of each product and allows customers to redeem the same through the next purchase.

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Prerequisites for selling on the Rakuten marketplace

Rakuten in Japan, surpasses the world famous Amazon, with 27% of the e-commerce market share. However, in the US, it is growing with “Ebates” offering up to 40% cash back on purchases and plenty of options to earn bonus points, which particularly favors repeat shoppers. Keep in mind that it takes almost a month and a half to get the Rakuten seller portal up and running.

To sell on the Rakuten eCommerce marketplace you must have:

  1. An account on the Rakuten seller portal.
  2. Your products with one of the following barcodes: UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN.
  3. Own brand (you can use your name too)
  4. A unique manufacturer ID (to ensure you are a business owner)
  5. After selection and confirmation, list your products in any of 4 ways: RMS web tool, FTP feed. Open API or third party integration.

Requirements when based on Rakuten in the USA:

If your business is outside the US., then you must meet all of the following criteria to sell on Rakuten:

  • Have bank and credit card accounts in the US.
  • Traders must have the W9 form before applying to be a Rakuten Market Trader
  • will also accept a W-8 instead of a W9 for merchants without tax status in the United States.
  • Required customer service email address that you must reply to during US business hours.
  • A US customer service phone number (optional)
  • Shipping time should be fast enough for US customers.

If you belong neither to Japan nor to the United States

In case you are a seller based in any country other than Japan and USA, You can also sell on Rakuten with the help of Rakuten approved third party partners.

For it, you need to sign a contract with any of the service providers, who in turn will take care of all the installation, administration and operations of your store. You can contact your Support Center.

In 2010, Rakuten acquired PriceMinister, a leading online marketplace in France. Being the market leader among others, Rakuten France has more than 22 million members with 10 million active users, mostly from France and neighboring countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and Canada.

If you want to propose your store on Rakuten France, consider the quick solution to this through the online e-commerce solutions offered by Rakuten.

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Main product categories in Rakuten

“Buy in Japan. We ship worldwide, bringing Japan directly to you” – Rakuten keeps it very simple when it comes to the things that are sold from their portal. From technology products to fashion, from baby items to office supplies. However, if you are a manufacturer, distributor or owner of any of the product categories below, please expand your store/product to display on Rakuten.

  • electronics
  • home and outdoor
  • Clothes, shoes and accessories
  • Beauty and personal care
  • sports and fitness
  • Health
  • bags and luggage
  • pet supplies
  • Toys, toddlers and babies
  • Food and drinks
  • Media
  • Automobiles and spare parts
  • Office supplies
  • Everything else

How to become a Rakuten seller?

Rakuten is an invitation-only e-commerce marketplace. Therefore, merchants need to be approved before they can start selling on your platform.

If you are located in the US, you can make your application here

If you are located in France, you can make your application here.

Once you have applied, Rakuten takes 3-10 business days to review it.

It also largely depends on the size of the catalogue. Once your sales request is accepted, there are three ways to upload your products:

  • Manual upload using the Rakuten web tool
  • Batch upload via feeds
  • Use a third party service provider

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What are the seller fees on Rakuten?

Rakuten has three types of seller fees:

  1. Individual listing fee (99 cents for each listing)
  2. Monthly account fee ($39/month)
  3. Commission by categories, as explained below:
Category Commission
Clothes and accessories fifteen%
Automotive and motor sports 12%
video games and software 10%
Health and Beauty fifteen%
Home, Outdoor & Pet Supplies fifteen%
Jewelry and watches fifteen%
Media fifteen%
Musical instruments 12%
Office supplies 12%
Personal electronics, accessories and hardware 8%
Sports articles fifteen%
Everything else (not included in other categories) fifteen%

Traders are paid weekly for orders. All orders completed between Tuesday at 0:00 AM (PT) and the following Monday at 11:59 PM (PT) will be paid the next day (Wednesday).

What about shipments and returns in Rakuten?

You are free to create and customize shipping and return policies for your stores. Through the Rakuten seller portal, you can choose any of the shipping partners (recommended by Rakuten) or you can opt for any other shipping service depending on your needs and requirements.

Make sure your products fall under the allowable guidelines. To ensure the safety of buyers, Rakuten does not allow you to sell some products, check here.

How to increase Rakuten sales?

Maximum shipping options: Although customers prefer free shipping, it is always advantageous to offer the maximum possibilities. You can add up to 20 different shipping options.

Listing optimization: Similar to major e-commerce marketplaces, Rakuten’s product search and recommendations take into account keywords in the product title and description.

Take the following suggested combination for anunico:

Brand name + Most common/popular feature + Most popular keyword

Write personalized product descriptions containing the keywords, their benefits, features, and USP. You can use 20,000 characters to write high-converting product descriptions. This also includes HTML tags.

Custom Product Pages: You can also create custom product pages for each of your offers. On these pages, you can include a product demo video, well-crafted keyword titles and descriptions, and catchy product images. On the other hand, having a personalized and attractive product page offers clear and concise information about your product and, in turn, works as a brand recognition strategy.

Invest in promotion mechanisms: Rakuten is a highly promotional online marketplace that offers many ways to save the shopper. One of the main reasons people like to shop at Rakuten is because of the Super Points they earn from both events and regular purchases. In addition, you can organically invest in various promotional offers such as Cashback, Holiday discounts, and limited-time offers and deals to attract a large number of buyers to your store.

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How to sell on Rakuten: conclusions

Although Rakuten is a big fish in Japan, it is also breaking into the US and European countries like its Amazon and eBay counterparts. Rakuten has gained great reach thanks to its easy account setup and lower costs.

Rakuten published a medium-term strategic plan called “Vision-2020”, in which plans to reach revenue of about $2.7 billion by 2020, focusing on the “Ebates” open platform cashback affiliate program and the marketplace. Therefore, it can be a great tool for additional sales in 2020.

now that you know how to sell on rakuten, follow all our recommendations and start now. We wish you good luck.

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