Tokyo, December 19, 2017 - Rakuten, Inc. and BIC CAMERA INC. today announced that the two companies will establish a new company to provide a more convenient shopping experience focusing on consumer electronics. The agreement regarding the establishment of the new company was concluded today, with the service to begin operations in April 2018.
As online shopping becomes a fundamental part of daily life, major changes are taking place in the way consumers purchase electronics. In addition to examining products before purchasing at retail stores, customers are now also going online to compare product information and prices and then making purchases online – a trend that has contributed to the steady expansion of the consumer electronics category on Rakuten Ichiba.
At the same time, online shoppers of consumer electronics have several specific needs that must be addressed: the need for the quick delivery of products, the need for help installing large appliances, and the need to consult with specialists and physically check products in a store. With these things in mind, Rakuten and BIC CAMERA have decided to form a new company to leverage both companies’ strengths and offer an even more convenient online electronics shopping service.
The new company will take over the operations of the BIC CAMERA Rakuten Ichiba store, which is currently managed by BIC CAMERA, and reopen it as “Rakuten BIC.” The store will offer a wide range of products at BIC CAMERA’s competitive prices, in addition to product installation services. The two companies will also look into jointly developing original products to sell both on the Rakuten BIC store and at BIC CAMERA group stores.
The service will also utilize BIC CAMERA’s distribution centers to provide a same-day delivery service, and both companies are looking to collaborate more deeply on logistics to streamline distribution and delivery, and provide value-added services.
The companies also aim to strengthen the connection between online and offline operations by providing a service where the stock of a product at a physical BIC CAMERA store can be checked on the Rakuten BIC site, purchased on Rakuten BIC, and then picked up at a BIC CAMERA store. At the same time, customers will be able to earn and use Rakuten Super Points at BIC CAMERA brick-and-mortar stores, further improving customer convenience and satisfaction.
Rakuten and BIC CAMERA will continue to deepen their collaboration to promote seamless cooperation between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores, and, going forward, will continue discussions on a wide range of collaborations beyond the operation of Rakuten BIC.