URLs

Rakuten.jp
Information for prospective sellers

Categories

Hi-tech, fashion, food, health supplements.

Number of registered users
105.0 million

Customers

Rakuten is a well known popular Japanese marketplace offering a wide range of consumer products to Japanese consumers at all ages. With a population of around 127 million, Japan's consumers are educated and sophisticated, as well as being price conscious with an eye for exceptional customer service and quality.

Commission

8.0 - 15.0% (category and volume dependent)

Membership fee

JPY 19,500.00 monthly

One-off registration fee

JPY 60,000.00

Listing fee

Not required

Deposit

None

Payment terms

To be arranged with your third party service provider

Currency

JPY (NZD may be arranged with your third party service provider)

Parcel tracking required?

Yes

Support

9am to 6pm (Japan Time), Mon to Sun

Rakuten Ichiba is the largest e-commerce marketplace in Japan, and one of the earliest e-commerce sites in the world, with over 105 million active customers and more than 44,000 sellers. With over 25 percent share of the Japanese e-commerce market, it's a great starting point for anyone wanting to sell there.

Rakuten is expanding rapidly internationally, acquiring Buy.com in the US (now Rakuten.com), Priceminister in France and Ikeda in Brazil (now Rakuten Brazil). It also owns Viber and invested early in Pinterest.

Rakuten’s B2B2C platform differs from many other e-commerce sites in that every seller designs and creates an individual store page within the Rakuten Marketplace that serves as your store’s home on the site. It has four plans for different sized stores based primarily on number of products in your catalogue and the length of your contract – and of these, two are right for cross-border sellers. These plans offer attractive additional tools to help sellers develop relationships directly with customers. Examples include the dedicated CRM tool that lets you streamline how you manage your customer relationships and convert more repeat buyers, and a customer loyalty cash-back programme called Rakuten Super Points™. Sellers have the opportunity to offer bonus Super Points™ on items as an incentive to buyers.

Japanese consumers are sophisticated and have high expectations of quality, so make sure your product page content is localised and right for the market, has high quality photography and images, detailed descriptions and is designed to show quality and build trust. Consider including product videos, and instructions for use, even for low value products.

Phone and email customer support on Rakuten must also be excellent, and as the marketplace is predominantly Japanese with a Japanese web interface, sellers will need daily assistance from someone proficient in Japanese.

Sellers without a Japanese or US entity need to sign a contract with service partners approved by Rakuten. These third party partners will act as your local team to help you set up your Rakuten store and provide operational support. Costs for third party providers are additional to your Rakuten costs.

Service partners can help you:

  • design your Rakuten webstore 
  • translate your site content
  • manage your products through inventory and catalogue updates
  • order management
  • customer service (in Japanese)
  • logistics and fulfilment.

A typical timeline from your service partner applying online to open a store through account screening, account opening, store creation, applying payment facilities and store opening is five to six weeks. Once your store is active, Rakuten assigns you an Ecommerce Consultant (ECC). The ECC is your advocate, provides strong account support and can point you in the direction of the right service partners for you.

When it comes to fulfilment, cross-border sellers can choose between direct cross-border or in-country warehousing models. The right model for you will depend on the nature of your product portfolio, your price point, the physical size of your products and regulatory considerations.

Things to think about

The search experience for visitors on Rakuten is different to the experience on platforms like Amazon. Rakuten’s search results will display your products, and when a visitor clicks on them they’ll be directed to your store page. This means sellers have more opportunity to tell a brand story, offer promotions, upsell and engage repeat customers.

However, just like Amazon and Lazada, Rakuten has its own algorithm that handles all customer searches. The algorithm weights product performance on the site, giving products with high sales numbers and high reviews preference over low sales and poor reviews. Being ranked highly on Rakuten requires not only understanding your target customer and having exceptional customer service, but also executing a well thought out long tail keyword plan, and making the most of detailed product descriptions. Rakuten also has a complex way of categorising products, so the way you load products as a seller contributes to how your products are shown when searched.

Like Amazon, Rakuten provides promotional opportunities to sellers including pay per click promoted products, banner ads and e-newsletters. Make sure to include a marketing budget to drive traffic to your store, and think about seasonality and Japan’s special holidays when developing your Rakuten promotional plan. You may also be able to build seasonal keywords into your product descriptions to find a niche unique to you.

Helpful links for Rakuten
Free Trade Agreements and Customs

A free trade agreement that has been concluded, but not yet in force, for New Zealand with several countries including Japan is the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Find out more here

To find out more about Japan’s Customs requirements, take a look through the English language website

East Asia Market Realities: Japan

  • NZTE Business Development Manager, Shintaro Nakamura, summarises trends, opportunities and challenges for New Zealand food and beverage in the Japan market.

    1.66 MB

Food and beverage e-commerce

  • Rising retail turnover in East Asia is being driven by growing consumer classes who are increasingly seeking out high-quality products. Many of these consumers are now researching and shopping online.

    13.4 MB

Navigating food import processes

  • Food import regulations vary across East Asia and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting your products into market. Read about the process for imports and get an overview of local regulations.

    7.8 MB
  • I want to find out about packaging and labelling for export
    Packaging and labelling requirements can be very different from country to country, so get as much information as you can before making the decision to export. 

    Depending on where your products will be sold, you might need to use different materials or labels, and include different types of information. In some countries, you might have to translate all your packaging or labels into the local language – in others, applying a sticker with a few key details will do the job. 

    Make sure that you check out all of the requirements for packaging and labelling before tackling a new market, including anything that’s needed during transport or distribution. 

    You’ll find more details on the kind of things you need to think about in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    We suggest that you work with a customs broker or freight forwarder, or get advice from a lawyer in-market, to understand all the requirements for your product and the place where it’s headed. The Customs Broker and Freight Forwarder Federation (CBAFF) has a list of customs brokers and freight forwarders within New Zealand.
  • I want to find out about regulations and tariffs for export
    Regulations and tariffs should be one of the first things you find out before exporting. They often determine whether a market will be easy or hard for you to export to, or whether you should try to do business there at all.

    Understanding regulations in your export destination is a must-do. For an introduction to what you need to think about, see our guide on understanding international compliance requirements. This includes tips on how to research regulations, as well as insights on local regulations, standards, health and safety, and dealing with local bureaucracy.

    It’s a good idea to take a look at the rest of the international compliance process while you’re doing your work on regulations – see more information in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    If you’re planning to export food or food-related products, you should also check out the food exporting page on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website. MPI maintains a list of Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for New Zealand food products in different export markets – search and identify OMARs for your product online

    Tariffs can make your products more expensive and less attractive to overseas buyers, so you need to know the charges your products will attract before you commit to a new market.

    You can get a big head start in finding tariff information by using the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) tariff finder or the World Trade Organisation’s tariff download facility. You can search the databases by product name, but they work best when you know the approximate Harmonised System (HS) code for your product. HS codes are used by customs authorities around the world to identify products and apply tariffs. The longer the code is, the more precisely it describes your product. The first six digits of an HS code are usually the same worldwide – after that, there can be up to eight further digits, which often vary from country to country.

    The  (NTAU) can help you to find out the first six digits of your HS codes – call +64 4 473 6099 or email mntau@customs.govt.nz

    To get a longer and more precise HS code for a particular market, look up and contact the local customs authority online, or talk to a customs broker or freight forwarder who has done business in that market.

Was this page helpful?

 Yes  No