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Play.com closure – Rakuten.co.uk commercial pitch for sellers

By Dan Wilson August 5, 2014 - 7:26 am

UPDATED: Rakuten/Play.com have been in touch with us and asked us to remove the confidential briefing document that was originally included in this post. In a spirit of cooperation, and with a promise of more information soon, we acceded to their request.

Rakuten Play FeatLast week we reported that Japanese owned firm Rakuten would be closing the doors on their marketplace play.com.

This came as something of a surprise to some sellers on play.com, who hadn’t been informed. They got the news in the first instance from Tamebay.

It was then revealed that a new marketplace from the same firm was coming our way: rakuten.co.uk. Again, that was the first plenty of play.com sellers heard.

We got in contact with Rakuten for more details on their new marketplace but we haven’t heard back on what they plan exactly: we got a ‘watch this space’ statement.

Now, thanks to a Tamebay reader sending it in, we have the PDF commercial pitch document that is being circulated to (we imagine) prospective sellers on rakuten.co.uk.

Have a look and make your own mind up. It includes fees and subscription rates as well as some practical information on how existing sellers can transition to the new website.

It also explains the timescales they are proposing for sellers.

It’s a bit of light on what many of us would consider big questions. What is the launch plan to drag in the buyers?

Are all sellers on play.com going to get a share of the new rakuten.co.uk marketplace? What’s the big idea? (There are some clues in the doc but no overriding vision.)

But what is most striking is the fact that Rakuten.co.uk isn’t talking openly.

We’ve not had any information or an offer of a briefing from the team. Plenty of play.com sellers have commented that the first they have heard about the change has been Tamebay.

So, take a read and digest the commercial pitch. Is it something you want to be part of? I know many sellers want to see a challenger to eBay and Amazon. I agree there because competition is vital.

But why are Rakuten not keeping the ecommerce community involved, excited and signed up?

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    I don’t understand this company, destroy an established brand name and name it something the general public has no knowledge of. Remember Consignia anyone?

    The play marketplace died when the government’s war on online retailers ended the tax loop holes, what is going to make this one better? Perhaps it’s a good time as I’m sure eBaye sellers will be loosing their ‘defects’ accounts soon, or perhaps it will just attract all the dodgy NARU ebayers. I think I will sit this one out and see the proportion of Chinese sellers to UK sellers.

    • Tim
      3 years ago

      Hey Gary,
      I’ve been using play.com for years now as a buyer and really the play brand is far too associated with entertainment and gaming/music. I wouldn’t even consider using play for anything non-electronical to purchase.

      Because play is so well known for its sales of video games / music and band apparel and cheap gifts under a fiver, its difficult for sellers to sell anything outside those categories.

      Rakuten is one of Japans biggest e-commerce sites, and does better than Amazon.jp. They’ve purchased many popular e-commerce sites around the globe along with other things such as the phone app Viber, and an online video streaming site(I forget the name). Its clear that Rakuten are going for global expansion and trying to improve on the success they’re getting from their Rakuten brand in Japan. It only makes sense for them to have everything named Rakuten, after all once the name is well known it wont matter, there’s a lot of brands that sound silly but are just so well known no one really says anything.

      Overall I’m pretty excited to see how it plays out, it will definitely help in allowing other other categories get more of a chance to sell. Everyone has been crying out for a competitor to eBay/Amazon and Rakuten are attempting to be that, I wouldn’t get caught up on the name. I just hope the transition will be easy and not a pain, seeing the confidential documents published does annoy me as they are confidential and it may just make things more difficult for play which makes more difficult for sellers. But I understand why they are published.

    • 3 years ago

      I agree about Play being associated with media etc and that there is a logic to changing to Rakuten.

      I historically sold DVDs and Play was always dwarfed by eBay and Amazon. To the extent was barely worth the effort. I was therefore never too fussed about putting other products on there.

      I will certainly be keeping an eye on it but cant see thinking about selling on there until the new year at least. I remain unconvinced that any marketplace will ever make a noticeable dent to eBay and Amazon but would be delighted to be proved wrong !

      Bryn

  • Dom
    3 years ago

    My six month Play subscription is due in September even before this news I was planning on not renewing as sales have dried up. I really can’t understand why they have chosen to leave Play.com as a zombie marketplace in the run up to Christmas. I have never heard from my account manager since the last renewal was due and have not been informed of the closure or the migration to Rakuten.co.uk.

    Looking at the new commission structure (Starter @ £30 a month plus 15% commission) it does not look competitive considering it will be a new marketplace which will take time to establish and build traffic.

    The way Play has been left to decline over the last year means I will be unlikely to sign up for Rakuten.co.uk as I can make more productive use of my time.

    • A+
      3 years ago

      I agree with everything you say. We went through the same experience: massive drop in sales after the loss of our account manager. We quit play 3 months ago

      Creating listings on play.com was a very difficult process, i’d like to know what the improvements are on that front.

      If they have any faith in their platform, they should go for commission only to start with. I would give it a try. Otherwise no thank you

  • 3 years ago

    We almost joined play but decided not to because of the 6 month subscription. We opted for fruugo instead and its a slow start but with absolutely no charges other than 10% commission on sales its worth a try. I don’t see rakuten.co.uk working to be honest but who knows.

  • 3 years ago

    We were invited with a 6 month FREE top subscription and we concluded it still wasn’t cheap enough!

  • 3 years ago

    We’ve been with Play/Rakuten for 18 months, sales have fallen off a cliff since Christmas and we’ve not heard a peep from them regarding these changes. Thanks to Tamebay for letting us know!

    They really need to sharpen up their game before we renew our subscription.

  • 3 years ago

    Just to note that after being contacted by play.com/Rakuten, we’ve removed the briefing document from this post.