According to a press release, the store resides on the Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall, offering Japanese consumers access to a wide variety of U.S. products such as apparel, toys, and outdoor items. The web store will offer around 1,200 products at its launch, with orders fulfilled in the U.S. and shipped via air freight directly to consumers in Japan. Walmart said in the press release that it plans to add to the product categories going forward. Walmart’s Seiyu GK unit, which is based in Japan, will provide customers support, noted the companies. “We are very excited to be working with Walmart to bring a diverse product lineup of American brands at affordable prices to Rakuten Ichiba users in Japan,” Shunsuke Yazawa, executive officer and vice president of the marketplace business at Rakuten, said in the press release. “Through the opening of the Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store, we hope to make Rakuten Ichiba an even more attractive destination for online shoppers in Japan.”
The Walmart store on Rakuten Ichiba is the latest development of a partnership between Walmart and Rakuten which was announced at the start of 2018. The companies are tapping each other's strengths to expand consumer reach and improve the way customers both in the U.S. and Japan are serviced. In October Rakuten and Walmart's Seiyu unit opened the Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper, which is an online grocery delivery service. The two also have Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, which went live in August and gives U.S.-based Walmart customers access to a catalog of more than 6 million eBooks and audiobooks, the Kobo eReader and a co-branded free app.
“Walmart is committed to providing a trusted retail experience in Japan, and we are always looking for new ways to better serve consumers here as their lifestyles and needs change,” said Nathan Kring, senior vice president at Walmart International, in the same press release. “Through Seiyu, we have an in-depth understanding of this fast-changing market. The carefully curated assortment being offered on our flagship store reflects this insight and our ongoing dedication to Japanese shoppers.”