Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Rakuten’s market share in Japan?
  • Rakuten is the largest e-commerce platform in Japan;
  • we account for 26.8% of the e-Commerce market,
  • our GMV in 2019 was $37 billion USD,
  • more than 80% of Japan’s population are Rakuten members, and
  • over 70% are active users every three months.
2. Why should I sell on Rakuten?
  • Japan’s economy is the third largest in the world and the average disposable income of its consumers is much higher than many other leading e-Commerce markets.
  • Japan is the fourth largest e-Commerce market with a comparatively low number of online sellers. If you are not currently generating revenue from the market, this is a great opportunity for you!
  • As the largest e-Commerce marketplace in Japan, Rakuten offers overseas merchants the quickest access to millions of new customers with our Cross Border e-Commerce program.
3. Do Japanese consumers like to buy overseas products?

Yes. Overseas products are becoming increasingly popular to Japanese consumers and a large amount of these imported product come from the U.S. Japanese consumers have a positive view on American brands and products — they are usually associated with good quality with competitive pricing.

4. Do I need a Japanese entity to open a shop on Rakuten?

No. With Rakuten’s Cross Border e-Commerce program, you can open a shop on Rakuten with a U.S. entity directly, and receive a payout in USD to your local bank account.

5. How do we ship the products to Japanese consumers?

You can drop ship directly from your overseas warehouse to Japan. While it is recommended to use Japanese a shipping company — such as Yamato — because of customer trust, you may use other shipping companies as long as they are able to ship to Japan and will help you with custom clearance.

6. Do I need Japanese speaking staff to manage a Rakuten shop?

Yes. Having Japanese operation capacity is a must to be successful on Rakuten as the marketplace is in Japanese and most Japanese consumers are not able to speak English. An overseas merchant can either hire bilingual speakers in house, or outsource the store operation to a bilingual third-party service agency. Rakuten will provide a list of recommended service agencies for the merchant to choose from.

7. How do I receive payout? And how’s your payment schedule?
  • You will receive payout from PingPong, an authorized cross-border payment service provider.
    • In order to receive a payout from PingPong, you need to register a PingPong account and pass their screening.
  • Our settlement cycle is Net 20
  • You will receive payout twice a month;
    • on the 15th and the last business day of the month
8. We have very limited knowledge about the Japanese market and the consumer behavior, does Rakuten provide any service to help us get started?

Yes, Rakuten takes pride in our highly approachable services. Our team is
equipped with;

  • a Merchant Development Manager to help merchants with defining product
    and market fit, opportunity, and onboarding,
  • a Shop Open Advisor to guide merchants and help prepare for shop launch, and
  • an e-Commerce Consultant to provide consultation in market insight, shop operation best practice, and marketing and ads campaign.

From applying for to selling on Rakuten, overseas merchants will receive one-on-one service every step of the journey.

9. How often does your EC consultant provide us consultation? What is included in the consultation?
  • Technically, our e-Commerce Consultants are here for you on every working day and you can schedule meetings with them on a regular basis.
  • The consulting service is included in the cost of onboarding Rakuten.
  • They provide consultation in;
    • SEO
    • marketing and ads
    • page/banner graphic design
    • email campaigns to help you grow shop sales
10. Do merchants pay for tax and duty, or do the customers pay for it?
  • Customers are normally responsible for paying tax and duty at the point of last mile delivery in Japan. If your carrier provides a DDP solution, you may use their service to cover the tax and duty to provide a more convenient shopping experience for your customers.
  • As an overseas company, when you drop ship products from overseas warehouses to the Japanese customers directly and the order is under $150,
    it is considered as personal import, and is duty free.
11. What types of products cannot be listed?
  • In general, the following are not allowed to be sold on Rakuten Ichiba:
    • raw foods
    • fresh produce
    • seeds for farming
    • pet foods
    • liquid chemicals or cleaning products
    • weapons
  • Overseas merchants are not allowed to sell:
    • CBD
    • used products
  • Please refer to the Shop Operation Navi > for more rules and guidelines on products prohibited from being sold from overseas.

Got a question?

Get in touch with us to request more insights about Rakuten's cross-border eCommerce program.