"We will improve convenience for users and revitalize the Japanese online shopping market further," Rakuten President Hiroshi Mikitani and Yamato President Masaki Yamauchi told reporters Monday in Tokyo.
As soon as August, Rakuten orders will be available for pickup at convenience stores and at delivery giant Yamato's collection locations. Shoppers will be able to choose from some 20,000 FamilyMart, Circle K Sunkus and other stores as well as 4,000 Yamato locations and receive an email notification when an order is ready for pickup.
Rakuten is offering convenience store pickup for the first time. The online shopping mall operator teamed in the spring with Japan Post so that consumers can pick up orders at lockers in Tokyo post offices. Rival Amazon Japan offers convenience store pickup at Lawson and FamilyMart. Convenience stores, many of them open 24 hours, offer flexible pickup times.
Yamato also will offer order fulfillment to small and midsize companies, handling everything from order management and shipping to delivery.
Many of the roughly 40,000 retailers on Rakuten's virtual mall are smaller companies, and order management and shipping are burdens for them. Yamato's new service will seek to alleviate such burdens and offer quicker deliveries. Deliveries from smaller retailers often take two to three days, but the new service will allow same-day delivery in some areas. Users will pay fees based on shipment volume.