In 2016, Rakuten will enter our 20th year. We’ve come a long way since we started with a team of six and 13 merchants and that makes it even more important to focus on what makes our marketplace unique. We have developed into Japan’s leading online shopping mall and we are a highly trusted platform with high quality service because of our ability to collaborate closely with the merchants on our platform.
This year, Quality is our theme for the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace. At our annual spring conferences, which took place in six cities across Japan this February, I shared with our merchants why quality is so critical to success. Here are some of the key points:
Partnering on Trust and Quality
Rakuten Ichiba is special because we are a diverse community of high quality merchants who are also very serious about the integrity of the business. We work closely with our merchants to continuously improve the platform for our customers and to support delivery of a high standard of service. We are unique in the large proportion of merchants on the platform who have a broad and deep merchandise offering of over 100 registered products. We also have strict standards and screening procedures in place to ensure that only Japan’s best merchants are on the platform.
The success of our partners is directly related to our own success so we do everything we can to support them.
Listening to every customer
In order to provide the best quality service, firstly we must listen to the feedback of both our merchants and the consumers buying products and services on the marketplace platform. One initiative we have introduced to ensure we are responsive to customer feedback is to commit to directly calling customers who have left a negative comment: to understand the source of the problem; to work out how to remedy it; and to understand how we can learn from that experience to improve.
Fun, Safe and Convenient
The diversity of our merchant base is one of the core reasons that Rakuten Ichiba is a fun place to shop but we also need to work hard to ensure shopping on our marketplace is convenient and safe too. The e-commerce industry has grown rapidly over the past few years and there are many businesses out there trying to sell counterfeit goods. To tackle this issue, we are collaborating with over 1,000 brands to ensure that our customers know that they can trust our merchants and the products sold on Rakuten Ichiba.
Maximizing Customer Satisfaction
It is absolutely critical that we do everything we can to maximize customer satisfaction. Even if we have 2 detractors for every 98 supporters, those two can have a large negative effect. This is why I believe that maximizing customer satisfaction is much more effective than any advertising campaign.
In addition to improving our response to customer feedback, we are also expanding our popular Rakuten Super Points program to offer regular high-point rewards. Many customers are already taking advantage of the benefits of this program so we believe this will lift customer satisfaction even higher.
As we look forward to our 20th year and beyond, we are keenly focused on further enhancing the quality of Rakuten Ichiba. We will continue to collaborate with the best merchants and brands to ensure that Rakuten Ichiba not only delivers a fun and convenient service, but also one that consumers can trust. This is the true measure of quality.
*Images courtesy of Rakuten DREAM