Using Rakuten’s assets to create unique concepts and become the top community-powered marketplace in Japan
In February of 2018, Rakuma, which was primarily popular amongst men and women in their 30s, merged with Fril, which was primarily popular amongst women in their teens and twenties, to create an entirely new platform. The aim of this merger was to concentrate Rakuten's C2C (customer-to-customer) business resources into one brand and promote differentiation with other companies. What are the future possibilities for the new Rakuma service?
Accelerating growth through combining the different strengths of the old versions of Rakuma and Fril into one service
The creation of the new Rakuma service allowed for integration between the company and its services. One of the aims of this project was to create a thriving platform through multi-categorization. Rakuten's community-powered marketplace business had been growing steadily. The total annualized gross value in December 2017 - just prior to the merger - was 140 billion yen for both services. In the fourth quarter of 2017, gross value grew 2.7 times year-over-year. Fril was primarily focused around younger ladies’ fashion. In contrast, the old version of Rakuma was primarily focused on entertainment products and hobbies. By integrating and preserving these traits, the new Rakuma has succeeded in creating more value by simultaneously expanding the available categories and acquiring a wider range of users.
This integration has also led to further synergy within the company. Fablic, the Rakuten Group company which operated Fril, had many talented staff members who helped lead the project through their own initiative, providing new perspectives to the employees of the old version of Rakuma. The fusion of Rakuten's big data and management capabilities has created an environment that improves not only organizational strength but also allows personal growth that leads to service growth. The integration of the two platforms has been successfully completed, and the new version of Rakuma is now going through a phase of accelerated growth. Currently, the focus is on using Rakuten assets to provide more value to customers.
Rakuma’s gross value is rapidly growing due to measures such as TV commercials and free commissions
Growing into a business that accelerates the expansion of the Rakuten Ecosystem
Rakuten Group assets are being used as a powerful weapon to help Rakuma achieve its aim of becoming the top player in the community-powered marketplace industry. In July 2018, Rakuma introduced a new feature that allows proceeds from sales to be converted into Rakuten Cash. This means that in addition to Rakuten Group services such as Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Travel, users will be able to make payments without fees at stores that accept Rakuten Pay app-based payments, and web-based stores that accept Rakuten Pay online payments. This allows users to use the money they earn on Rakuma for a variety of purposes. Rakuma can also rely on Rakuten Group’s 100-million-member-strong user base, creating a powerful scheme that is impossible to replicate elsewhere. It is expected that money earned from C2C sales will flow back into the Rakuten Ecosystem.
The sales commission for Rakuma is 3.5% of the product price, which is cheaper than other companies.
There is also a myriad of ideas involving the use of Rakuten Group’s assets in Rakuma to create business growth. But more growth requires talented staff that can make these ideas a reality. Rakuma aims to be a new engine of growth for Rakuten. Its current rapid growth is evidence that it is capable of this. As a department that aims to further develop the company’s C2C business and that has a growing presence amongst Rakuten Group’s companies, Rakuma provides a workplace full of opportunities for people who want to do meaningful work that will help them grow.