April 30, 2024
  • Rakuten Group, Inc.

Rakuten Ichiba Empowers Merchants with Rakuten AI for Business Operations

- Building on the launch of RMS AI Assistant (Beta) in March, Rakuten AI University now available to help merchants incorporate AI tools into their business operations

Tokyo, April 30, 2024 – Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s largest online shopping mall, today announced the launch of Rakuten AI University, a suite of video-based e-learning resources to help merchants incorporate AI tools into everyday business operations, available via Rakuten University*1, a platform providing e-commerce expertise exclusively to merchants. By promoting the use of AI, Rakuten aims to further accelerate efficiency gains and productivity improvements for its 57,000 merchants.

Rakuten’s AI-powered store management tool, RMS AI Assistant (Beta)*2, was launched in March 2024 via the Rakuten Merchant Server (RMS), the company’s support platform for e-commerce stores. RMS AI Assistant (Beta) offers a variety of features supporting merchants’ daily operations, including product description generation, product image processing*3, text generation for responding to user inquiries, data analysis of merchants’ sales trends and an AI chatbot for solving questions about store operations. With the help of these AI features, merchants on Rakuten Ichiba can expect to enhance the efficiency of their store operations and reduce workload hours.

The Rakuten AI University released today aims to foster a deeper understanding of AI technology and its applications for store management. Beyond covering AI fundamentals, merchants can delve into how to maximize the features provided by the RMS AI Assistant (Beta), alongside real-world case studies. In the future, Rakuten University Lab*4, a web magazine tailored to business people, will expand its range of content to encompass video resources covering AI knowledge and culture, while incorporating insights from industry experts.

Rakuten is driving the use of AI to accelerate growth across its entire business under the theme of "AI-nization." As part of this initiative, Rakuten Ichiba is working to improve the customer shopping experience and convenience through AI, while simultaneously realizing efficiencies for merchants.

Going forward, Rakuten Ichiba is committed to empowering merchants through AI and other cutting-edge technologies to improve operations, strengthen connections with customers and drive better results.

*1 Since Rakuten University opened in 2000, it has supported merchants’ operations by offering a variety of courses, such as RUx, an e-learning resource that enables merchants to learn about store operations and how to expand sales, and Rakuten Dream, which introduces success stories from Rakuten Ichiba stores.
*2 Some features of RMS AI Assistant (Beta) are powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4.
*3 The AI-powered product image processing feature is scheduled for release around June 2024.
*4 The Rakuten University Lab is a learning space for business people established by Rakuten based on the Rakuten Group's mission to empower people and society through innovation. The website covers a range of business topics, providing insights from a wide variety of experts and is available free of charge for all users. For more information visit here: https://university.rakuten.co.jp/  (*Japanese page)

Overview of RMS AI Assistant (Beta)
A store management support tool that uses AI to analyze data such as merchant sales trends, generate product descriptions, process product images, generate text for user inquiries, and respond to inquiries from merchant stores. Available on Rakuten Merchant Server (RMS), Rakuten Ichiba’s support platform for merchants.
Launch date: March 28, 2024

1) Generate product descriptions with the Create Text feature and process product images with the Process Image feature using AI, available from the R-Storefront page.
Create Text: Creates and suggests product descriptions based on the product name, images, basic product information, and more.
Process Image: Creatively edits the product image background and suggests product images that match the required scenario. (*Scheduled for release around June 2024.)
2) Create responses to customer inquiries with the Generate Answer feature using AI, available from the customer inquiry management page R-Messe. The feature generates a response based on the customer inquiry and the response summary provided by the merchant.
3) Analyze merchant sales data with the Analyze Data feature using AI, available from the data analysis page R-Karte. The feature analyzes key indicators such as number of visitors to the store, customer purchase amount and conversion rate before explaining sales trends and characteristics compared to the previous year.
4) Ask questions about store operations with the Ask AI Chat feature, which responds to merchant’s questions, in addition to summarizing and crafting sentences.

About Rakuten AI University
Rakuten AI University is a suite of e-learning video resources covering AI fundamentals, RMS AI Assistant (Beta) features and real-world AI case studies. It recently launched on Rakuten University, an e-learning portal site that provides Rakuten Ichiba merchants with e-commerce expertise. Content will be rolled out in stages starting April 30, 2024.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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