Women at Rakuten: Ayu

EC Consulting Department
Rakuten Group Commerce Company

Leading the team in retail business and open device strategy

Currently, I belong to the Retail Business Section in Rakuten’s Commerce Company. I am also part of a new project to improve the browsability of Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Mobile as a sales manager in the Open Device Strategy Section.

My duties in the Retail Business Section mainly consist of aiming to boost the sales of merchants on Rakuten Ichiba offering products such as PCs, home electronics and watches. I draw up strategies for initiatives and unique methods to encourage customers to make purchases.

In the Open Device Strategy Section, I strive to maximize the synergy generated by Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Mobile. Since 2020, I have also been working on measures for offering our customers greater smartphone device options on Rakuten Ichiba and boosting the sales of distributors and manufacturers.

My job in both departments is to create an environment in which customers can enjoy seamless shopping and improve their overall shopping experience. When customers want to buy a PC but don’t know which one to choose, I work together with shops on packaging products that customers can use as a go-to option when they are unsure. I also add improvements to the design of our websites to make them easier to navigate and to assist customers in making choices. Through these and other methods, I help grow our user base.

Ayu (pictured second from left), alongside her team in the retail business section, works to boost the sales of merchants on Rakuten Ichiba.
Ayu (pictured second from left), alongside her team in the retail business section, works to boost the sales of merchants on Rakuten Ichiba.

Another important part of my work is training group members and negotiating with other divisions. Within the teams I supervise, members basically have shops they are in charge of and solve any issues that require attention. Sometimes we resolve shared challenges as a team. We develop Rakuten Ichiba’s strategy in the mid-to-long term and collaborate with marketing, development and other related divisions to implement that strategy in our systems.

Becoming a manager really changed me

A major turning point in my career was when I was assigned as a manager in Rakuten Ichiba’s retail division. I dealt with more people both internally and externally, and as my discretion widened, so did my responsibilities. At the same time, the joy I experienced when overcoming obstacles as a team also doubled.

When I became a manager, I sometimes compared myself to my predecessor and felt not only pressure but a sense that maybe this position was not for me. Without a doubt, the reason why I managed to mentally overcome that and tackle my new duties was that I was blessed with the members of my work team. I am so thankful that my superiors and colleagues were there for me every time I ran into obstacles. This enabled me to push forward while collecting my own thoughts. Through this cycle, I eventually found myself feeling confident in my own decision-making. It helps to know that there are managers who are looking after me and colleagues who work hard alongside me. This environment is helping me grow.

In the new project to enhance the browsability of Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Ichiba that I was assigned to in 2020, I was involved in everything from the ideation process to strategizing, planning and execution. As a manager in the Retail Business Section, I had a certain level of experience in implementing a project in an established organization. Doing so in a newly-formed organization, however, was a first for me. While pursuing business with a new team can be fun, I am also aware of how tough this can be, and still find myself in the learning phase. At the same time, I have a true sense of how I am successfully taking advantage of the experience and knowledge that I have gained up to this point, and can see how this has helped me grow.

Ayu's supportive work environment allowed her to grow into her role and feel confident in her own decision-making.
Ayu’s supportive work environment allowed her to grow into her role and feel confident in her own decision-making.

Diversity is being able to work without worrying about diversity

At Rakuten, the culture of working efficiently within working hours has become well-established. The environment here makes it easy to work in line with our individual lifestyles, taking advantage of flexible work shifts and other systems offered. Personally, I really enjoy having lunch at our cafeteria and taking a refreshing break with a soy latte from the in-office cafe.

Rakuten also has plenty of seasonal events. There was an event at the end of the year through which we thanked fellow employees who have helped us during the year by giving them message cards. It was an unforgettable experience to write messages of thanks and hand them out at the company Christmas party.

As someone who has been working at Rakuten for a long time, I am usually not conscious of this, but when I talk to people outside our company, I realize that since Rakuten allows us to work without worrying about gender or age or nationalities. It is truly a diverse company.

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