Japanese Ecommerce giant Rakuten is expanding its western operations by adding a UK targeted marketplace, Rakuten.co.uk.
Rakuten already has a foothold in the UK after it acquired Ecommerce website Play.com for £25m in 2011. The new UK site is planned to go live in October of this year with Play.com users being redirected to the new marketplace when accessing the site beginning March 2015.
“The newest, most exciting marketplace in the UK, connecting unique, interesting retailers with new customers,” stated a release by Rakuten on the UK based marketplace.
The Rakuten.co.uk website will be based and launched on its already popular Japanese variant. The move of expanding Rakuten’s primary platform is something the firm calls “global borderless shopping in the future”. In addition, Rakuten is planning on releasing something it is calling a “large-scale multichannel campaign” to coincide with the UK launch. The move is to get Rakuten merchants to sell on a more global scale, à la eBay and AliExpress.
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Current Play.com merchants are invited to transfer operations to Rakuten.co.uk given they accept the new monthly fee plans. Rakuten’s new monthly plans will be put forward with “variable category commissions”.
In addition to the new marketplace, Rakuten will begin offering its merchants personalization tools including branding, categories, products and stories, and create personal offers that they can be promoted through the merchants own email database. Also, a new loyalty point based program will be introduced to encourage repeat customers.