Walmart partners with Rakuten to open first Japanese e-commerce store
Walmart has partnered with Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, Inc. to bring the first Walmart e-commerce store to Japan.
The new digital shop, dubbed the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store, is located on the Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall. Via the e-shop, Japanese customers now have online access to Walmart's range of cost-effective products, in categories including apparel, outdoor goods and toys. According to a press release, the store will launch with an approximate 1,200 products to choose from, with plans to expand and add new product categories in the future.
Once orders are placed, they will be processed in the U.S. and air freighted to Japanese shoppers, with what Walmart has described as a "no surprises policy" in which shipping, duties and taxes are included in the final price before purchase.
Customer service support for the e-store will be provided by Walmart’s Japanese subisidary Seiyu GK. According to Walmart executives, Seiyu GK played a key role in crafting Walmart's Japanese identity, made with the country's local consumer preferences in mind.
"We are always looking for new ways to better serve consumers [in Japan] as their lifestyles and needs change," said Nathan Kring, senior vice president of Walmart International in the company's release. "Through Seiyu, we have an in-depth understanding of this fast-changing market. The carefully curated assortment being offered on our flagship store reflects this insight and our ongoing dedication to Japanese shoppers."
This development comes as part of a strategic alliance between Walmart and Rakuten announced in January of this year, intended to expand each company's consumer reach.
Outside of the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store, the two companies' other joint ventures include the online grocery delivery service Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper, as well as Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo.
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