TOKYO, February 3, 2014 – Rakuten, Inc. announced today that it had acquired VI-VI-VI.COM Co., Ltd., a service provider of the online hair salon search portal “vi-vi-vi.com,” through the 100% purchase of issued stocks, making the company a full subsidiary. The acquisition price has not been made public.
vi-vi-vi.com currently catalogs approximately 6,000 hair salons as of January 31, 2014, making it Japan’s second largest hair salon search portal. Since its service was launched in July 2007, the site has the benefit of offering a simple, completely results-based plan with no fixed costs, charging hair salons based only on the number of reservations made. The strengths of this model have led to the steady expansion of listed salons over time. While reservations via vi-vi-vi.com take place mainly over the phone, efforts are also being made to facilitate online reservations. For its part, Rakuten began its own online hair salon search and reservation service, Rakuten Salon, in June 2012. By acquiring VI-VI-VI.COM, Rakuten hopes to enhance its salon business, strengthen both websites, and improve the convenience of its services.
In recent years, the business climate for hair salons has grown increasingly severe. As consumers in general trend toward placing a higher value on saving money, individual customers are both spending less in hair salons and visiting their stylists less frequently. At the same time, there is a steadily-growing need for hair salons to adapt to the new desires of individual customers for non-conventional offerings, such as head spas, websites that allow hair salons to be searched by user reviews and hairstyle pictures, and the ability to make reservations at the times most convenient for the customer. Moreover, along with the widespread use of smartphones, it is expected that there will be further advancements for hair salon search and online reservation tools moving forward.
In light of the current state of the industry, the integration of vi-vi-vi.com and Rakuten Salon customer bases and functions is anticipated to expand the user bases and convenience of both sites. Furthermore, the addition of VI-VI-VI.COM to the Rakuten Group will expose the previously independent service to more than 87 million Rakuten Members, increasing awareness and helping the site to attract new customers. Discussions are also underway to allow for the use of Rakuten Super Points on vi-vi-vi.com in the future.
Rakuten and VI-VI-VI.COM will continue to work closely together for the further development of the beauty industry, under the slogan “empowering beauty.” Moving forward, Rakuten is committed to advancing plans for collaboration with an even wider range of internet services, always aiming for the further expansion of the Rakuten ecosystem.