Photo - Masaya Ueno, CEO & President, Rakuten Online Shopping
Japan's internet services firm Rakuten expects to attract more clicks from Malaysian online shoppers this year with the expansion of its fashion and accessories category.
Since launching Rakuten Online Shopping in Malaysia two years ago, the online marketplace has multiplies the number of fashion merchants by 8 times, said Rakuten Online Shopping's Malaysia-based chief executive officer and president Masaya Ueno.
Ueno said this growth reflects the increasing demand by Malaysian shoppers, especially for fashion items. "Over the last two years, Rakuten has seen a steady 25 percent increase in member sign-ups each month, and a 400 percent increase in the number of orders received. The brand aims to continue achieving similar growth this year."
"According to the Malaysia E-Commerce Index which was released in August last year, clothing, accessories and jewellery accounted for 59.5 percent of the items purchased online," he said.
"This made fashion and accessories the top-ranking category, compared to health and beauty (39.9 percent) and consumer electronics (34.7 percent). With Internet users also expected to increase to 25 million next year, we anticipate 2014 as a year of growth for us and our dedicated merchants," said Ueno.
He said the marketplace now has almost 18,000 products from more than 80 merchants in the fashion and accessories category. "Consumers can enjoy an exciting line-up of clothing and fashion accessories, including bags, shoes and jewellery for women and men, from some of Malaysia's top and up-and-coming retailers on Rakuten Online Shopping, including Toki Choi, Poh Kong, Afraldo Online Fashion, Bagstation, Crocs, and more."
Global e-commerce platform
"Empowering merchants and consumers is at the heart of our business," said Ueno. "Over the past year, our team has worked tirelessly with our merchants to help them expand their reach through multichannel offerings. Our ambition is to create a global e-commerce platform, so that merchants and consumers can sell and shop from around the world."
He said Rakuten's strength was its B2B2C model, "which provides SMEs as well as larger-scale merchants with a global platform to expand their sales and visibility."
"The company does not only provide the training and knowledge to run a profitable online business, but encourages merchants and customers to form closer relationships beyond that of a seller and buyer," said Ueno. "With the B2B2C model, merchants can build online storefronts on Rakuten and sell directly to consumers."
Rakuten will focus on bringing in more merchants in the fashion and accessories category as well as broadening its offerings in other key categories such as beauty & healthcare, IT & electronics, toys & games, kids, baby and maternity products and others, he added.
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