Walmart, Rakuten announce online groceries alliance

Walmart, Rakuten announce online groceries alliance

Walmart has inked a partnership deal with e-commerce outfit Rakuten to launch an online grocery delivery service in Japan.

This is set to go live in late 2018, replacing Walmart’s existing offering, and will be known as Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper. Customers will be able to place an order on Rakuten’s online marketplace platform, with the service aiming to increase capacity in 2018 via the establishment of a dedicated fulfilment centre, as well as offering deliveries from Seiyu stores.

In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo have formed an exclusive alliance that will enable the former to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks, as well as offer Rakuten Kobo eReaders, in Walmart stores and online in the United States starting later this year. “Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan,” says Wal-Mart Stores President and CEO, Doug McMillon. “Here in Japan and everywhere we operate, we’re constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile, no matter how customers want to shop. We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of eBooks and audiobooks for our customers in the US.”

The initiative is the US retailer’s latest attempt to crack a hugely competitive overseas market by working with a local partner. In 2016, it sold its Chinese website to the country's second largest e-tailer, JD.com, in exchange for a 5% stake in the company.

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