The Transition from Play.com to Rakuten.co.uk

We’ve heard lots of opinions about the new Rakuten.co.uk marketplace, mainly that retailers are unhappy that they renewed subscriptions on Play.com just before the new marketplace was announced coupled with the lack of third party support (which will eventually be fixed).
Michele Maginty
Setting the teething issues aside, we wanted to find out more about the potential of Rakuten and today Michele Maginty, partnerships manager, EMEA, at ChannelAdvisor, looks to the future and tells us why Tamebay readers should keep an open mind and embrace the new marketplace as soon as the tools to support it are available. Here’s what Michele had to say:

The transition

Back in August, Rakuten announced that it would be transitioning Play.com over to Rakuten.co.uk. This was part of the Japanese e-commerce giant’s plan to offer ‘global borderless shopping in the future’. Rakuten.co.uk went live last month for merchants, and while this new marketplace will initially run alongside Play.com, the Play marketplace will effectively close in the first quarter of 2015, and all traffic will be directed to Rakuten.co.uk.

As the third largest marketplace in the UK, Play.com has been a popular site for retailers and consumers alike, so retailers are questioning what the transition means for their businesses. This isn’t the first high-profile transition for Rakuten. The group acquired marketplace Buy.com and transitioned to Rakuten.com in 2010.

What’s changing

So what exactly is changing for the UK? Rakuten launched the global Rakuten brand in the UK last month, introducing the brand-new e-commerce site, Rakuten.co.uk. This new site is part of the new Rakuten Global family and is focused on connecting unique, interesting retailers with new customers.

This new marketplace is being launched on a new international e-commerce platform, as part of a move towards global, borderless shopping. The Rakuten Group has decided to move all of its e-commerce marketplaces onto one global platform, helping retailers and customers alike as they gain access to global products and customers, plus all the advantages that a single platform brings. The launch of Rakuten.co.uk accelerates this move towards the global platform, at least among Rakuten’s European subsidiaries.

The future potential

Over the next 12 months, Rakuten wants to pioneer a new era of borderless retail. Working with Rakuten.co.uk will enable merchants to be part of Rakuten’s global group and in the future, unlock the potential of cross-border trading in Europe and globally. Rakuten’s vast network of marketplaces could open up many new territories to UK retailers, all on one platform. One thing’s for certain: This will be an interesting marketplace to watch over the next 12 months!