Rakuten reveal closure plans for Play.com

Our story earlier this morning about how play.com was not accepting new business has elicited a response from the Rakuten owned firm that we publish here in full:

“The Rakuten Group has taken the strategic decision to move all its e-commerce Marketplace businesses onto one global platform. The global e-commerce Marketplace platform creates enormous benefits to retailers and customers alike as they gain access to global marketplace products and customers plus all the advantages that a single platform brings.

As a result, Rakuten has accelerated the move to the global platform in its European subsidiaries with the launch of Rakuten.co.uk in October this year. This is hugely exciting, and will strongly support future growth of the marketplace model and Rakuten within the UK and Europe.

The existing platform and website Rakuten’s Play.com, will continue to operate through 2014 and be replaced by the new global platform and Rakuten.co.uk website in the UK in Q1 2015. The UK team are working hard with our global colleagues to deliver Rakuten.co.uk and will keep you updated on our progress.”

So, at first glance this is very interesting news and we can see it makes sense to consolidate all marketplace sales at Rakuten on a single marketplace. But it also creates a number of concerns for sellers and some of you will want them addressed quickly.

– With play.com going down and Rakuten.co.uk yet to be fully operational for the bulk of the Christmas 2014 rush, it would be wise to scrub it out of your forecasts. Additionally, in the transition, you’ve got to wonder whether it’s worth selling on play.com at all.

– Is your third-party provider already working with Rakuten, will they be able to hook you onto the new marketplace at launch, what are they doing to help you in this transition? We’d be interested to hear how the third party software providers are doing in making sure their customers get a good service during the change over.

– If you were thinking about play.com being a new channel, hold fire. Concentrate on other aspects of your business until after Christmas when we’ll be clearer about what’s going on.

How will this news affect you? We’d be interested to know.