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Is your multichannel solution ready for Rakuten?

By Chris Dawson September 7, 2014 - 10:09 pm

There’s little more than three weeks left for you to sign up to Rakuten’s new marketplace in the UK, Rakuten.co.uk if you want their signing on free subscription bonus. Whilst Play.com will continue until late Q1 next year.

Rakuten emailed Play.com merchants offering them up to six months free subscriptions if they were to join Rakuten.co.uk by the 1st of October, sign up between October the 2nd and December the 31st and you’d only get three months free. “Joining” was described as “having a storefront live on Rakuten.co.uk”.

We’ve spoken to many multi-channel management companies and none of them are currently ready to support you on Rakuten.co.uk. At most we’ve been told they’re investigating APIs to enable them to connect, but that’s as far as they’ve got. If you have a storefront live on Rakuten.co.uk when they launch, then you’re pretty much on your own so far as collecting orders and managing your inventory goes. It’ll all be a manual process.

The question you need to ask yourself is how much will it cost in time to manage your listings on Rakuten.co.uk, checking multiple times per day for orders and updating your inventory manually when you sell product on alternative platforms and will the time investment balance potential sales. If the equation doesn’t work for you then the few months free subscription could end up costing you more than it’s worth.

Here at Tamebay we’re still not convinced that signing up to Rakuten.co.uk is something you should be doing before Christmas. Hopefully you’ll be flat out with sales regardless and it’s something you can address in the New Year when you have more free time and when your multichannal management provider supports the new platform.

The other question which hasn’t been answered is what about those who sell on Rakuten.com (ex Buy.com) and Rakuten.de (ex Tradoria.de). Rakuten have stated that the move from Play.com to Rakuten.co.uk is to relaunch on their new global platform. Does this mean that at some point those selling on Rakuten’s US and German platforms will also be migrated and if so will it be a seemless process in their multichannel management solutions?

  • 3 years ago

    Without doubt we will not be looking into this until after the busy period. To try and set up something brand new at this time of the year would be impossible.

  • Anon
    3 years ago

    Merchants WILL be able to use APIs to manage their products and orders from 1st October on Rakuten.co.uk

    • 3 years ago

      That’s great…. but there’s only three weeks left for them to either build their own inhouse solution to talk to the APIs or for the multichannel management companies to integrate Rakuten.co.uk into their solutions.

      Which multichannel solutions will be ready on time? Will yours?

    • Anon
      3 years ago

      I’m not a merchant, but I’m involved in the API setup, and it will be ready in a couple of weeks. All merchants who use multi-channel should have been informed, but the communication isn’t an area I’m involved in.

    • 3 years ago

      That’s great to know. Does that mean that all the partners such as Brightpearl, ChannelAdvisor, ChannelGrabber, eSellerPro, Linnworks, Seller Dynamics, SellerExpress, Storefeeder etc will be ready to support their merchants in time for them to launch their stores before the 1st of October?

      Rakuten haven’t divulged any information and I’ve spoken to many of the multichannel management companies and none of them could give me a implementation date and certainly wouldn’t promise that they would have a solution in place before the 1st of October.

    • Anon
      3 years ago

      From my perspective, all I’m aware of is that any merchant that currently uses a multi-channel to update their products and orders on Play.com, will also be able to do so on Rakuten.co.uk via an API.

    • 3 years ago

      That’s reassuring! I wonder why if that’s the case that the multi-channel management companies are being so reluctant to commit to supporting Rakuten.co.uk by 1st October if it’s so straightforward?

      As far as we know products on Play.com will be mapped to Rakuten.co.uk, but products created on Rakuten.co.uk won’t be mapped back to Play.com so a new solution is definitely needed and fast.

    • Cambridge_Blue
      3 years ago

      Good try Chris but I doubt you will get a straight answer and based on past experience Play/Rakuten are simply appalling at communication with their sellers.
      The idea that just because an API is published by Rakuten on 1st October (I presume this includes full documentation and testing spec for key modules) it suddenly becomes possible to integrate with a multi-channel software program is simply ludicrous.
      It take a lot of work and crucially some serious debugging and testing to ensure the API works as expected by both parties across the interface even if it is based on the existing Play one which is not clear to me.
      We would be very wary if any other software vendor claimed they had integrated the Rakuten channel this quickly.
      It increasingly look like Play is a ‘beached’ channel and probably failing for a number of reasons (anybody got any hard financial figures?) so now Rakuten think they can jump over the dying carcass of Play and create a sparkling new channel that will rival …… who exactly since Rakuten positioning is a complete mystery at present.

  • fusion
    3 years ago

    I’ve been told by Channeladvisor that will be supporting Rakuten.co.uk but probably not at the beginning as they will be sorting out their systems.

    I have signed up/inquired a while back but have not heard from them. I guess they will be contacting sellers soon or should it have been done by now?

    • 3 years ago

      As expected from ChannelAdvisor – they’re in the same invidious position as all the other multichannel providers of not enough time/information etc to have any hope of being ready for the 1st October :(

      Not sure when you should expect to be contacted by Rakuten though… hopefully soon!

  • Stuart
    3 years ago

    I haven’t really been contacted by Play/Rakuten yet, not properly. I had a proposal email from my ‘account manager’ who followed up with an email straight after to say he was leaving and someone else would be in touch.

    Since then I have heard nothing from anyone…..this is a right mess and I very annoyed as a week before this kicked off we paid our subscription to play!

    • 3 years ago

      Similar situation here, had great support from an account manager when first joined but since then ‘radio silence’. I learn more from Tamebay than I do directly from Rakuten. Will be cancelling the subscription when it’s up for renewal.

  • 3 years ago

    I think before Rakuten do anything more they should put all their efforts into employing a PR department.

  • 3 years ago

    Let’s put Rakuten in the pipeline for early next year rather than running around to put new system in place.

    Wish you all the best for next few months!

  • Peer
    3 years ago

    I went over to rakuten.co.uk, clicked on “enquire” under “merchants”, got an orange pop up with nothing on it….now what?

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    I spoke to the head of Rakuten integration back in June 2014, and was told that they were hopefully going to integrate Play.com and Rakuten Europe by Christmas. I was also told that there was not much point carrying on with my Shop Subscription until this was done.
    They were going to tell us when to start again – No news yet!!!

    All I can say is that I really hope that Rakuten (Japan) do not give up on the UK, just because Play.com was not a great purchase.

    But I will not look at Rakuten until after Christmas.

    • 3 years ago

      It is now September Christmas 2014 is rapidly approaching. Both Rakuten and OnBuy might be live for Christmas 2015 but it looks as if Christmas 2014 will be No Change. So I for one am going to think about but do little except concentrate where I usually have concentrated in the past.

  • peter stanley
    3 years ago

    I am curious if anyone has tried selling on choiceful.com?
    I suppose they are only a small site (or seem to be) so it’s probably similar to ebid as in they probably don’t do much. I think I have bought something off them in the past but from what I recall just the once.
    Unfortunately for them as a buyer I automatically go to ebay or amazon and only if I can’t find what I am after do I try elsewhere.

    • 3 years ago

      It’s too small a site with too little listed to get much traction. Look on the site today for a “Laptop” and they only have a couple of dozen listed all with “No seller available”, “Sell yours here”.

      It’s a shame, but without inventory they’ll never attract buyers and without buyers they’ll never attract sellers.

  • Liam
    3 years ago

    I currently sell on play.com and havent recieved any information about moving to Rakuten? Does anybody have any information on how to sign up if you haven’t recieved the email?

  • Rai
    3 years ago

    I’ve just started my integration with rakuten (getting set up in time for the free 6 months) and so far it has seemed fairly simple and flexible.
    The orders appear to let you tick of regions domestically so we should finally be able to target highlands/islands separately for postage costs.
    The categories appear to work similar to ebay with a Rakuten category and your own category (like store categories). I haven’t seen the front end yet but so far looks impressive.
    I sent off an enquiry for interest about 1 month ago on rakuten.co.uk, and we were contacted by a new play account manager in the past week.
    I am still in the setup process and will be using linnworks when they are ready to list that way for the rest of my inventory. Apparently they are nearly ready according to the rakuten representative.
    Does anyone have any other questions? I will be finishing the setup today hopefully so might have more info then.

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