Rakuten: The 7 Powerful Strategies That Catapulted Its Success.

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Rakuten: The 7 Powerful Strategies that Catapulted its Success.

Introduction – Rakuten

Rakuten, a symbol of successful entrepreneurship, originates from the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo. Established slightly more than twenty years ago, it has undergone a swift transformation from an emerging startup into a global powerhouse, persistently stretching the limits of e-commerce, fintech, and digital content while contending with industry titans. The trajectory of Rakuten is an intriguing analysis of continuous ingenuity, resolute perseverance, and astute foresight, which positioned it as one of the most captivating triumphs of the digital era.

A multitude of pivotal strategies have contributed to the organization’s distinct value proposition, which has propelled it to international prominence in an unprecedented manner. Rakuten has achieved excellence in every way possible, including a customer-centric business model, strategic collaborations, innovation adoption, business line diversification, global expansion, and a robust supply chain and logistics infrastructure.

The primary objective of this article is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the seven potent strategies that have propelled Rakuten to such remarkable heights of success. Every strategy elucidates a distinct aspect of Rakuten’s business philosophy, thereby furnishing a holistic comprehension of the organization’s operational framework.

Embark with us as we delve into the narrative of Rakuten, an organization that originated as a negligible entity on the international stage but has since grown to dominate the digital domain. Entrepreneurs, business aficionados, and inquisitive individuals equally stand to gain immensely from a narrative that expounds upon perseverance, ingenuity, and strategic excellence.

Customer-Centric Business Model

The Rakuten Ecosystem Today
Photo Credit – Rakuten.com

The success of Rakuten can be attributed to its business approach that prioritizes the needs and preferences of its customers. This approach prioritizes the client and their pleasure in all business choices, creating a positive experience across the whole customer journey. Rakuten’s customer-centric approach goes beyond merely offering satisfactory customer service. It entails conducting business in a manner that ensures a favorable client experience both prior to and following a purchase, with the aim of fostering repeat business, cultivating customer loyalty, and boosting revenue.

The organization prioritizes comprehending the requirements, aspirations, and expectations of its consumers and subsequently tailors its products, services, and plans based on these insights. This strategy has led to the acquisition of devoted clients who exhibit higher levels of spending with the company and demonstrate a decreased likelihood of switching to rival companies just based on price.

Rakuten’s marketing and selling techniques are centered around prioritizing the needs and preferences of its customers. The organization incorporates the customer into its messaging by utilizing user-generated material, customer feedback, and reviews. The objective is to convert customers into advocates who generate new customers through word-of-mouth recommendations.

Additionally, Rakuten’s focus on its customers extends to its operations. The company’s marketing, sales, product development, and support are all centered around the requirements and interests of customers since it values its long-term success more than short-term gains. An important factor in Rakuten’s success has been its customer-centric attitude, which has helped the company distinguish out from its competitors.

Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations

Collaborations and strategic alliances have played a crucial role in Rakuten’s expansion and prosperity. These collaborations are key to driving growth and innovation in today’s interconnected corporate landscape. Rakuten has accelerated its growth trajectory by teaming up with similar companies or industry heavyweights, which has given it access to new markets, technologies, and resources.

Rather of focusing on short-term gains, these collaborations aim to generate long-term value by combining resources, knowledge, and market synergies. By utilizing their partner’s preexisting networks and distribution channels, they allow Rakuten to access previously unexplored consumer niches or join new marketplaces.

If all parties are upfront and honest during talks, then everyone will know each other’s objectives and be measuring success by the same standards. Because of the high turnover rate in senior positions across the two companies, it is crucial that partners be able to rely on one another and work together throughout the partnership.

Managing expenses, increasing market share, elevating profiles, increasing visibility, consolidating existing sectors, entering new sectors, increasing revenues, and accessing technologies are just a few ways in which Rakuten’s strategic partnerships have revolutionized the company.

Simply said, Rakuten has been so successful because of its strategic alliances and collaborations, which allow it to build on the strengths of other companies and expand its own reach and capabilities. Rakuten has been able to maintain its competitive edge in the ever-changing digital market by implementing this strategy.

Embracing Innovation and Technology

The Future of Rakuten
Photo Credit – Rakuten.com

Rakuten’s expansion is inherently linked to its dedication to embracing innovation and technology. Being a digital platform, technology is fundamental to its business strategy, directly influencing the company’s capacity to provide value to its consumers and maintain a competitive advantage.

Rakuten makes substantial investments in its technological skills, consistently pioneering advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, and cloud computing. These technologies are employed to improve consumer experiences, optimize processes, and enhance corporate efficiency.

For example, Rakuten uses artificial intelligence (AI) to customize the buying experience on its platform. It provides personalized product recommendations by analyzing a user’s browsing history and interests. Machine learning algorithms are employed to evaluate client behavior and forecast trends, enabling the organization to anticipate consumer wants and maintain a competitive edge.

Moreover, Rakuten’s dedication to innovation goes beyond its own activities. In addition, the firm cultivates an environment that encourages creative thinking and originality by actively endorsing startups and entrepreneurs through its Rakuten Accelerator initiative. This program offers the necessary resources and guidance to help these individuals transform their groundbreaking concepts into reality.

Rakuten’s policy of embracing innovation and technology is a clear demonstration of its progressive and visionary attitude. Rakuten guarantees its continued growth and competitiveness in the constantly changing digital marketplace by always investing in the latest technology and cultivating an environment of innovation.

Diversification of Business Lines

One key component in Rakuten’s rise to digital powerhouse status has been its diversification across various business lines. From its humble beginnings as an online marketplace, the company swiftly saw the need to diversify its goods to cater to clients’ ever-changing needs.

These days, Rakuten is active in many other markets, such as e-commerce, digital content, communications, and financial technology, to name a few. As a result of diversifying its revenue streams, the company has been able to increase lifetime customer value and customer loyalty by upselling and cross-selling products and services.

The user and the company both gain when the customer utilizes Rakuten for online shopping and then decides to use its banking services or digital content offerings.

Rakuten has reduced its exposure to risk through its diversification strategy. Maintaining stability and continuing to create money is made possible by having several business lines, which help a company weather market instability or downturns that are peculiar to its industry.

Finally, the success and expansion of Rakuten can be attributed in large part to its diversification approach. The company has further cemented its position as a worldwide digital leader by diversifying its business lines. This has allowed it to establish a complete ecosystem of products and services that meet the needs of a wide spectrum of customers.

Global Expansion Strategy

Rakuten’s strategy for expanding globally has played a crucial role in driving company growth and achieving success. The corporation acknowledged at an early stage that in order to effectively establish itself as a dominant force in the digital world on a worldwide scale, it was imperative to expand its influence beyond its own market in Japan.

Going global is a complicated process that needs to be carefully planned and carried out in a smart way. To do this, you need to know how different markets work, be able to change your goods and services to fit local needs, and know how to deal with different regulatory environments. For Rakuten, this meant doing a lot of study on the market, learning about different cultures, and making sure that their products would work in all of them.

Rakuten’s plan to go global included hiring and staffing plans that made sure the business had the right people to help it grow in each market. This meant hiring people who knew a lot about market trends, spoke the languages well, and had lived or worked in the target areas before.

The company also used strategic relationships to help it grow around the world. By working with local businesses, Rakuten learned more about how the local market worked and what customers wanted. This helped it make its products more relevant to people in that area.

Rakuten’s plan to go global has not only helped it get into new markets and hire top experts, but it has also spread out its income and reduced the risks that come with depending on a single market. This planned method to going global has been very helpful for Rakuten in its quest to become a world leader in digital commerce.

Robust Supply Chain and Logistics

Rakuten’s success has been built around its strong supply chain and transportation management. Supply chain management at the company makes sure that things, services, and information about them move smoothly from where they are made to where they are used. This includes planning, carrying out, and managing information, things, and services from where they are made to where they are used.

Logistics management at Rakuten makes sure that deliveries don’t get held up at any point in the chain and that goods and services get to customers in good shape. This makes customers happier and helps the business keep its costs low. Transportation and traffic, shipping and receiving, importing and exporting, storage, inventory management, buying, production planning, and customer service are all complicated tasks that need to be coordinated by logistics.

The business also uses technology to make its transportation and supply chain work better. Electronic Data Interface (EDI), for example, is used to move activities from one computer system to another. It does this by turning the data into a standard that all systems can easily read. This is especially helpful when the sharing of data between two or more people takes place on paper, like when a seller sends written invoices or orders to a third-party logistics provider to be filled.

Basically, Rakuten’s strong supply chain and transportation management have helped it provide a smooth experience for customers, keep costs down, and keep operations running smoothly.

Effective Marketing and Branding Strategy

Rakuten Ecosystem
Photo Credit – Rakuten.com

Rakuten’s success has been built on its strong marketing and branding strategy. The business has come up with a complete brand plan that fits with its goals and speaks to its intended audience. This approach isn’t just about what Rakuten tells its customers; it’s also about why the company exists and how it’s different from other companies in the same field.

Rakuten’s brand strategy comes to life through marketing that is consistent and works well across all platforms. To build brand recognition and keep people interested, the company uses events, content marketing, influencer marketing, and social media. It also tracks and measures the success of its brand to find ways to make it better and make sure it’s in line with its business goals.

Branding for the company is more than just its name and image. Everything about Rakuten’s brand, from its color scheme to its motto, has been carefully thought out and is related to the company’s business. This care for detail helps build a strong business identity that people will remember and connect with.

Rakuten also focuses on giving customers a great experience because they know that happy customers will spread the word about the brand. The company puts this focus on the customer experience into every part of its business, from making products to helping customers.

In the end, Rakuten’s smart marketing and branding approach has helped it build a strong brand that stands out in the market and connects with its intended audience. This plan has not only helped Rakuten get and keep customers, but it has also helped it grow and be successful.

Conclusion – Rakuten

Finally, Rakuten’s impressive expansion and prosperity are due to its strategic stance in critical domains. Continuously bettering the customer experience and operational efficiency, it has remained at the forefront of its industry by embracing innovation and technology. The expansion of Rakuten’s client base, revenue streams, and risk mitigation capabilities are all results of the company’s diversification across many business lines.

Rakuten’s worldwide expansion plan has opened doors to new markets, diversified revenue, and given the company priceless insights into worldwide trends. The company runs smoothly because of its strong supply chain and logistics, which allow for the effective and timely delivery of goods and services.

Last but not least, Rakuten has built a powerful, famous brand that speaks to consumers all over the globe thanks to its smart branding and marketing approach.

These strategic pillars, combined with Rakuten’s unwavering focus on customer satisfaction, have positioned the company as a global digital leader. The company’s success story serves as a testament to the importance of these key strategies in the digital economy. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, Rakuten’s strategic approach will continue to drive its growth and success.


What is Rakuten?

Rakuten is a Japanese multinational conglomerate that operates a wide range of businesses, including e-commerce, financial services, telecommunications, media, and digital content.

When was Rakuten founded?

Rakuten was founded in 1997 by Hiroshi Mikitani, who still serves as its CEO.

What are some of Rakuten's key businesses?

Rakuten's key businesses include Rakuten Ichiba (its flagship e-commerce marketplace), Rakuten Mobile (a telecommunications provider), Rakuten Bank (a digital bank), Rakuten Viki (a streaming service for Asian dramas and entertainment), Rakuten Kobo (an e-book and audiobook platform), and Rakuten Advertising (an advertising network).

How does Rakuten Ichiba differ from other e-commerce platforms?

Rakuten Ichiba operates as a marketplace where merchants can set up their own online stores within the platform. It emphasizes the concept of "omotenashi," or hospitality, by fostering direct relationships between buyers and sellers and offering a wide selection of products, including unique items from small businesses and artisans.

Does Rakuten operate internationally?

Yes, Rakuten operates internationally and has expanded its presence beyond Japan through strategic acquisitions and partnerships. It has invested in or acquired various companies worldwide, including Ebates in the United States and PriceMinister in France, among others.

What is Rakuten's loyalty program, and how does it work?

Rakuten operates a loyalty program called Rakuten Super Points, where users earn points on qualifying purchases made through Rakuten's platform. These points can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases or exchanged for various rewards, including gift cards and merchandise.

How does Rakuten leverage data and technology in its businesses?

Rakuten leverages data and technology to personalize the shopping experience for users, optimize marketing efforts, improve operational efficiency, and drive innovation across its various businesses. It invests in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to enhance its products and services.

What are Rakuten's initiatives in the field of financial services?

Rakuten has expanded into financial services through Rakuten Bank, Rakuten Securities, Rakuten Card, and other offerings. It provides banking services, credit cards, securities trading, insurance, and mobile payment solutions to consumers and businesses in Japan.

How does Rakuten contribute to the digital content and entertainment industry?

Rakuten owns and operates several digital content and entertainment platforms, including Rakuten TV for streaming movies and TV shows, Rakuten Viki for Asian dramas and entertainment, and Rakuten Kobo for e-books and audiobooks. These platforms offer a wide range of content to users globally.

What are some future directions or goals for Rakuten?

Rakuten aims to continue expanding its global footprint and diversifying its business portfolio through strategic investments, partnerships, and acquisitions. It also seeks to drive innovation in areas such as fintech, artificial intelligence, and digital content, while maintaining its commitment to customer satisfaction and value creation.

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AuthorFarhanul Haque

This article is written by the Founder of Digitamizer who has been working in the e-commerce Sector Since 2006 and is also a certified Digital Marketing Professional from IIT, Delhi, India.


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