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How come Japanese shopping-website operator Rakuten is still relatively unknown in the U.S. and Europe, where Amazon.com rules?


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I'm going to suggest that it's because their site looks like garbage and a lot of it isn't translated properly into other languages. I avoid using it in Japan just because it's so ugly and difficult to guarantee that you've found the best price for a given product, with so many similar and identical listings that don't get meaningfully linked or compared like is done on amazon's site.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Dan Hopper, you are spot on. The Rakuten site is without a doubt the worst site I have even seen. having to scroll through pages of junk, and nonsense, to finally get to the item you want to look at. Also, the information available about the item is not as thorough as Amazon. Every time I checkout the Rakuten site, I feel I am watching some garish Japanese Game show with all its flashing lights and strange background images!

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I agree that Rakuten pages are quite cluttered. That said, the market seems to be different. Amazon is better for finding a product which you have seen elsewhere (maybe at a real shop), but Rakuten might be better for casual browsing. All of the additional photos on Rakuten are helpful if you are buying something like clothes.

As far as why it isn't popular, it's probably because most people don't really need to buy much from Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If you're looking for electronic products then I suggest going over to bestgate or kakaku.com and do a price search and decide which shop has the lowest price of a product.

This way you get the best price for the product you are looking for every time in which Amazon is rarely included.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've purchased from both Rakuten and Amazon.jp

1) Search sucks on Rakuten

2) Email confirmation is confusing

3) Very few product reviews (one of the big reasons people LOVE amazon)

4) Design on Rakuten is not so friendly

5) Amazon has a much better "customers who viewed this also viewed..."

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Amazon is a company which treats its software somewhat seriously, though their software is largely invisible to the consumer. I haven't heard anywhere near that same thing about Rakuten.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Weird question. I guess that Amazon naturally leads the market (but not necessarily 'rules') in its home country, but they are not that global. Chinese world has Ali Baba. In France, Rakuten is more successful and a million time more appreciated than the tax-evading and dumping artists of Amazon. They are more diversified than in Japan as they do like e-bay and jaran too. They are not using much the 'rakuten' brand on sale sites, their branches 'price minister' and a few others are the popular names, so if you never read the economic news, you're not aware that Rakuten bought it all a decade ago.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Simply put Rakuten website needs a makeover.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Never heard of Rakuten before this article.

With online purchases, the reputation for "making things right" matters to me. Amazon has that reputation AND they back it up with actions.

And Amazon has been collecting sales taxes for years here.

I looked at Rakuten's site. Looked like target or sears. I don't "shop" on those - only visit them for a specific thing. I dislike when shopping sites use 3rd party addons to help shopping, tracking, us. Rakuten is using 5 external trackers. Why? They inherit the reputations from each of those trackers. Since I find 3 of those addons offensive, I will NEVER use Rakuten.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You've just answered your question when you asked it. Because Amazon rules.

Apart from that, what gaijinfo said. Plus in Rakuten, the shops give you a discount right away if you agree to write a review about the product you're ordering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Super user unfriendly, The interface sucks, annoying ads, horrible search function, confirmation emails is bad...what else, am I missing anything? Japan websites just suck.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry to necro!

1) Terrible, cluttered layout. 2) Nearly all the search results are Out of stock, listings are never cleaned up. 3) You are constantly hassled or tricked to sign up for newsletters 4) They actually send you physical spam mail

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I agree. Too much junk on the page. However, it does depend on what you're shopping for. Looking for a good quality mattress? The 3rd party website information is much much better than what you will get on Amazon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it's because their search engine is pure garbage. If you put the name of a product with, let's say, three words, it gives you the results of the search of each word individually, instead of the products which contain all of them. That makes impossible to do any precise search, it always returns a million results.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Rakuten website is a bad joke. The navigation (of lack of) seems almost purposely designed to confound. It's cluttered, amateurish and ugly - and fiddly and skittish when you're trying to order something. The shopping experience is littered with cheapo spammy crap. I go there only as a last resort and can't wait to get out. It's a puzzle to me how Rakuten stays in business.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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