It is official: After rumors about the shutdown of the German Rakuten marketplace had been circulating in the media for some time, a press spokesman for Rakuten now confirms to the portal Onlinehändler-News, that the company is actually putting the German marketplace to rest as of October 15 and will not accept any further orders. Also when being redirected to any Rakuten landing page, you are confronted with a pop-up window which addresses the end of the German marketplace. Contrary to Rakuten's motto "Make our marketplace your marketplace", eCommerce stores will no longer be able to sell their products via the platform of the Japanese group with its German headquarters in Bamberg. According to the company, orders placed by the cut-off date of October 15 will still be processed as usual. Website you are now directly informed about the closure of the marketplace. Contrary to Rakuten's motto "Make our marketplace your marketplace", eCommerce shops cannot continue to sell their products via the platform of the Japanese company with its German headquarters in Bamberg. According to the company, orders placed by the deadline of 15 October will still be processed as usual.


What is an online marketplace?


In 2019, more than 50% of eCommerce sales worldwide were made through online marketplaces. Experts forecast a dramatic increase in this percentage over the next 5 years, as they see the greatest potential for online trade in marketplaces.


Online marketplaces have the following two characteristics auf:

  1. Seller and buyer trade on the same website.
  2. Buyers are able to buy products without leaving the website or app.

This excludes price comparison sites. This is mainly because in order to explicitly buy the products, the page must be left. On Marketplaces you can either sell as a private person or as a B2B or B2C company and both physical products and services are offered. Rakuten itself, like Amazon, belongs to B2C marketplaces where only physical goods are for sale. In most cases, the buyers are end consumers instead of large companies. So if you are looking for a specific product, you will find it in many different versions from various manufacturers or companies and can choose the offer that suits you best.


iBE, a pan-European financial services consulting firm, statesthat B2C marketplaces currently generate approximately $1.1 billion in marketplace sales. According to iBE, this figure is expected to rise to $3.5 billion by 2024. This in turn corresponds to more than 70% of all online B2C sales. The potential of marketplaces is enormous. It is therefore even more surprising that Rakuten in Germany is clearing the field for other marketplace giants - especially Amazon.


How Rakuten works


Rakuten is primarily aimed at retailers who want to set up a functioning online store with little time expenditure. Around 6,700 dealers were active on the German marketplace and sold their products there. Using the Rakuten Connect feature, buyers were able to shop across different stores and add products from different stores to their shopping cart. 

As an eCommerce store you were provided with all the tools you need to effectively build customer loyalty and make your online presence appealing. Dealer-centered, a flawless interface was created in terms of SEO and design to operate your own store with the greatest possible freedom. In the Rakuten Academy, merchants could learn skills to expand their eCommerce abilities. In addition to the in-house order hotline, this was an advantage over other online marketplaces, especially for small and medium-sized companies.


As a registered Rakuten trader, a monthly user fee of 39,- Euro had to be paid in addition to the one-time setup fee of 49,- Euro. In addition, sellers pay a margin of 5-9% on the turnover per sale, depending on the product category. The entire payment process was handled directly via Rakuten: Online stores therefore did not have to connect to various payment systems.

Customers collected so-called Superpoints with each purchase, which could be redeemed with the next purchase. Stores were also able to create targeted Superpoint campaigns to make the purchase on their site even more appealing to potential customers. 


What are the next steps concerning Rakuten?


Their in-house service Club R, which is partly comparable with Amazon's Prime membership, remains. The membership is free since 2018 and offers the following advantages:


  • 3-fold Superpoints with every purchase
  • Superpoints are valid for 364 days
  • Exclusive discount campaigns exclusively for Club R members

Customers still have the possibility to redeem their collected Superpoints at other Rakuten services or to exchange them for voucher cards of brands like Douglas, Ikea, Otto etc.

Services such as Rakuten TV, Tolino and Rakuten Viber are also not to be affected by the closure of the marketplace. In addition to the existing services, Rakuten also aims to enter the banking and mobile phone business, which has already been successfully implemented in Japan. Rakuten justifies this mainly by the fact that the marketplace has offered only limited growth potential in the market, they now want to focus mainly on advertising and digital content in the German market. 


Conclusion: What this means for your online shop


If you have been running a store on the Rakuten Marketplace, now is the ideal time to switch to alternatives. Whether you switch to Amazon or build your own online store with shop systems such as Shopify as Magento - you have to weigh the pros and cons in advance. In addition to the choice of platform, there is also the question of how to handle your fulfillment most effectively. If you don't want to take care of all the steps in processing your orders yourself, it makes sense to outsource specific processes and assign experts with your fulfillment.


At this point, Warehousing1 acts as an interface between online stores and logistics partners. Via our central dashboard on our cloud-based platform, you have access to all logistics processes that you have commissioned our partners with at all times. We provide you with an interface to the warehouse management system of your logistics provider to automate order processing. Warehousing1 supports the data integration to common shop systems and enables you to retrieve data in real time and react flexibly to a fluctuating order situation. You are curious and want to learn more about a cooperation with us? Our account managers will be happy to advise you - arrange a non-binding consultation today!

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