July 1, 2014
Rakuten is a public-listed e-commerce giant back in Japan and came to our shores at the end of 2012 – they expanded into Singapore earlier this year. It is a B2B2C marketplace, i.e. business-to-business-to-consumer. What it means is that when you shop online at Rakuten.com.my, you’re not actually buying from them but from the merchants that have set up shop on their platform – the same way as how lelong.com.my works.
Being an established player, Rakuten is able to attract the big brands like Best Denki, Caring Pharmacy, Borders, Poh Kong, Crocs and Philips. They also have smaller local stores, especially offline businesses that are exploring having an online presence. What Rakuten does is provide these businesses an easy e-commerce platform to list their products and collect payment, and also help them get customers by promoting the Rakuten website. In return, they pay Rakuten an annual subscription fee and a percentage of their sales revenue.
Since there are so many stores on-board, you can find practically anything there – from a waterproof bathroom stool to a screen protector for your iPad. Inevitably, some of the stores may carry the same item and even sell them at different prices. If you shop from different merchants, you will get seperate deliveries from each merchant and be charged according to each merchant’s shipping policy. If there are problems with your items, you will also need to contact the merchants seperately through the Rakuten platform – that’s the nature of B2B2C.
With the explosion of online stores in Malaysia, Rakuten has to promote themselves aggressively to quickly acquire customers for their merchants – especially against the other e-commerce behemoth, Lazada. Hence, you will find frequent promotions on the website, from credit card incentives to merchant sales to coupon rebates (Racoupon) and loyalty points (Rakuten Super Points).
Rakuten ordinarily rewards shoppers 1% RSP on their purchases – each RSP is equivalent to RM1.00 and can be applied on your next purchase. During promotions, you can get up to 20x RSPs, which is like a 20% discount but in the form of points. You can check your RSPs, including the expiry dates for the points, by logging onto the website:
Shopping on Rakuten
1. Browse around for products by category, merchant or by searching for the product.
2. Add the desired products to your cart and check out once you’re done shopping.
3. You can check out as Guest or Member. Being a Member gets you incentives like RSPs for your purchases.
4. Review the order summary – take note of the delivery charges. Here’s an example:
5. Enter your credit card information and make the payment.
6. If the products are in stock, you usually receive them within 3-4 days. You can check the status under My Orders:
A watch winder I purchased from Voxtera, which had a 6-month warranty, began developing motor problems 2 months after purchase. In a situation like this, you need to contact the merchant directly by using a form on Rakuten and providing the order information. The merchant will reply with instructions to courier back the item to them, so that they can proceed with the warranty claims.
Rakuten’s platform is trust-worthy, user-friendly and you can find a wide range of products on the website. The major downside is that you have to accept that you’re actually buying from the different merchants there, which means different pricing, offers, shipping and customer service.
The prices there are not always the cheapest around – some merchants even sell at retail price, i.e. same price as the physical stores. However, you can get quite a good deal during promotions, where you can combine the deals to get up to 70% off normal retail price.
Share this article with your friends