Rakuten is a highly popular membership-based marketplace originating from Japan. It holds 4th place among the global online marketplaces, just behind Amazon, Ebay and AliExpress. Selling on Rakuten is a big opportunity: the company boasts of having over 100 million monthly users and nearly 50,000 merchants selling on the site worldwide.
Rakuten first made its mark in the US in 2014 when it acquired US-based cashback site Ebates. Rakuten has recently made a major push into the US market with an exclusively dedicated U.S. website, accompanied by extensive advertising campaigns that include print, radio, and television.
Rakuten gained instant attention in this 2019 Super Bowl commercial explaining how to pronounce it and paving the way for Ebates being re-branded as Rakuten.
Driving sales with a customer loyalty program
Rakuten incentivizes consumers to keep making purchases through its SuperPoints reward program. Points accumulate with each new purchase and can be applied as discounts on subsequent purchases. Merchants help defray the costs of SuperPoints as part of their pricing structure. (See below.)
What you need to know before selling on Rakuten
Rakuten charges $39/month, plus a category commission and a 99 cent fee per item sold. That fee is what Rakuten uses to subsidize the SuperPoints discounts.
For most categories, the commission is 15%, but it varies to as low as 8% for some electronics like computers, and 10 – 12% for certain home items, toys, and office supplies.
Rakuten lets merchants keep their brand identity, determine their store policies, and build a direct connection with shoppers. It works with major brands such as Lenovo, Dyson, Asics, as well as with smaller resellers.
Rakuten’s US site only supports selling within the United States. International merchants must meet certain location-based criteria proving a US business presence in order o sell on the site.
Merchants can customize their own shipping and return policies. However we recommend that you select policies that are competitive with the market
Product Uploading Tools
Rakuten offers four different ways to upload products:
- RMS web tool
- FTP feeds
- Open API
- Third-party integrators, like Shopping Feed.
Benefits of selling on Rakuten
- Personalized storefront
- Customer support
- Fair competition
- Rich features
- Quick payments
How to start selling on Rakuten
Rakuten is not an open e-commerce marketplace like Ebay or Amazon; you have to be reviewed by their team and qualify as a seller. You can apply on its official website, fill out the registration form and wait till the marketplace approves or declines your application.
The basic requirements for qualification are that you start with a seller pannel, use barcodes, operate with a brand name, and secure a unique manufacturer ID.
After Rakuten receives an application, usually it takes up to 3-10 business days to process it and send a reply.
Shoppingfeed is a Rakuten Integration Partner, which means if you are already using Shoppingfeed then uploading your products to Rakuten can be done seamlessly and automatically. This article is part of an occasional series highlighting some of our 1000+ channel partners.
See more in our Channel Partner series here:
Shoppingfeed syndicates search-optimized product listings on all of the world’s most powerful marketplaces, syncs and refines inventory data, perfects product listings, and automates fulfillment workflow.