Christmas arrived early last year for shoppers in Japan, thanks to a new initiative between Rakuten and global retail leader Walmart. The two retail innovators teamed up once again to launch Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store. The new store features a unique design tailored to showcase the range of more than 1,000 high-quality U.S.-branded products to customers in Japan, including fashion apparel, outdoor goods and toys.
Offering popular U.S. products to Japanese shoppers
The store aims to close the distance between shoppers in Japan and Walmart’s full merchandise offering. Shoppers are able to purchase popular products from the U.S. in the same way that they buy products from merchants in Japan. Walmart then ships the products directly from their U.S. warehouses, and — as prices include shipping, duties and taxes — customers won’t need to worry about any surprise costs when considering their purchase.
At launch, the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store offered around 1,200 products and there are plans afoot to further expand its lineup of products. Walmart’s Japan subsidiary Seiyu GK provides customer support for the store, leveraging its years of experience serving local Japanese shoppers.
Rakuten is a pioneer in online shopping in Japan — its Rakuten Ichiba platform offers shoppers access to around 250 million products across a wide variety of genres. With the grand opening of the Walmart store on the platform, shoppers in Japan can now enjoy a wide variety of products from Walmart’s U.S. lineup.
Strategic alliance between Walmart and Rakuten continues to grow
2018 was a momentous year for the partnership between the two retailers. In January, Rakuten and Walmart announced a strategic alliance that has already resulted in two game-changing new services: Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, which offers customers instant access to a catalogue of more than 6 million eBooks and audiobooks, ranging from New York Times best-sellers, to a wide variety of indie titles, children’s books and more, and Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper, the new online grocery delivery service in Japan that officially launched in October 2018 to address burgeoning shopper needs.