Since its early days, Rakuten Priceminister has held an annual event to celebrate its merchants and share strategies, dubbed “Rakuten EXPO.” This year took a new fresh turn that celebrated the presence of the group across France, with speakers joining from Rakuten Viber, Rakuten Kobo, Rakuten Marketing and more, to represent the whole of Rakuten France. With representatives from the expanding Rakuten ecosystem in full attendance, the Expo also provided a perfect setting for the announcement of an exciting new O2O partnership with leading French electronics store Boulanger that promises to be a boon for consumers.

The new service to be launched through the partnership, to be known as “Click and Collect”, will offer visitors to the Super Boulanger Shop on Rakuten PriceMinister’s site the ability to order from a range of 25,000+ products and then pick up their order within two hours at a nearby Boulanger store. The specialist retailer in household appliances and multimedia products currently operates a nationwide network of over 140 shops.

“We are very pleased to be able to work closely with our merchant partners to offer our members the best shopping experience possible,” commented Rakuten France CEO Olivier Mathiot. “Our members have let us know that they are excited about Click and Collect services so we are positive that they are going to be making many visits to Boulanger shops to pick up their orders.”

The partnership represents a growing online-offline trend in retail. A 2017 survey conducted in France revealed the following:

  • 73% of respondents like to pay online, thus avoiding queues in shops
  • 81% want to check if the products are available, before going to the shop
  • 4/5 of respondents enjoy the speed and freedom of the Click and Collect concept

As this trend gains popularity with shoppers around the world, Rakuten has also partnered with electronics retail giant Bic Camera in Japan to launch Rakuten BIC, which not only offers the convenience of the Click and Collect model, but also plans to release original Rakuten BIC branded products. In the United States earlier this month, Rakuten announced the acquisition of Curbside, a mobile commerce startup that already works with major US chains such as CVS and Nordstrom to make ordering ahead and picking up merchandise or food easy and efficient.

“When PriceMinister joined the Rakuten Group in 2010 we were exposed to many innovative e-commerce models that Rakuten was already doing in Japan,” Mathiot added. “They have been offering O2O services like convenience store order pickups and delivery lockers for years so we have a great deal of know-how to draw from as we expand our offerings in France. Our members can look forward to more innovative partnerships like this to come.”

Rakuten France’s Click and Collect partnership with Boulanger will also allow members to earn Rakuten Club Super Points and is set to kick off this summer.