Bigger Than Amazon? The E-Commerce Heavy Hitter You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Considered one of the most valuable brands worldwide, it’s hard to imagine another e-tailer as powerful as Amazon. Well, it would seem that Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is gunning for that top spot. Servicing nearly 90 percent of Japan’s internet users and hosting nearly 45,000 merchants, Rakuten’s goal is to become the No. 1 internet services company in the world.
In a bid to gain access to the overflowing American e-commerce market, while paving a way for international vendors wanting to come on board, Rakuten has struck a deal with FinTech company Payoneer, a specialist in cross-border and online payments. “This is a new process that Rakuten.com is starting, in allowing international merchants to sell with us. Payoneer makes it easy for us to allow international merchants to sell on our U.S. marketplace, and to get paid in their currency of choice,” explains Drew Rifkin, Director of Partnerships at Rakuten.
Rakuten versus Amazon
So what makes the Japanese e-tailer stand out from its American counterpart? For one thing, Rakuten is one of the world’s largest and oldest e-commerce sites, steadily growing year after year, having bought out various other e-commerce sites in North America, Europe and Asia. Secondly, while Amazon is primarily focused on product, Rakuten takes pride in building a better overall shopping experience. By allowing individual sellers – the majority of which are craft brands – to customize the layout of their page as well as communicating directly with consumers, Rakuten hopes to add a personal touch to what can often be a cold online experience. Additionally, Rakuten’s Super Points loyalty program has been widely successful in Japan, prompting them to drop a cool $1 billion on American Ebates, a company that offers e-commerce loyalty and cash back rebates.
While Rakuten is obviously sparing no expense to achieve their goal of world domination, it still remains to be seen how well they’ll fare outside of the Japanese market. Which, of course, begs the question: will you be selling on Rakuten anytime soon? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!
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