Rakuten and Walmart are about to launch an online grocery delivery service in Japan and a new eBooks and audiobooks offering in the U.S. According to Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon and Rakuten, Inc. Chairman, president and CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani it leverages each company’s unique strengths and assets to expand consumer reach and enhance how customers are served in the United States and Japan.
The collaboration between Rakuten and Walmart includes the launch of a new online grocery delivery service in Japan beginning in Q3 of 2018. Rakuten and Seiyu GK, a subsidiary of Walmart, have reached a basic agreement to establish a joint venture with the aim of launching a new online grocery delivery service in Japan, to be known as “Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper.” The new service is planned to be launched in the latter half of 2018. Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper will aim to increase fulfillment capacity, enrich the merchandise offering and improve convenience for the customer. The service will aim to increase capacity in 2018 with the establishment of a dedicated fulfillment center, in addition to offering deliveries from Seiyu stores. The service will include not only fresh produce and daily consumables but also a rich lineup of convenient items such as cut vegetables, partially-prepared foods, and ready-meal kits, as well as popular local gourmet products from merchants on the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace.
Additionally, the eBooks and audiobooks service will be formed with an exclusive alliance between the two companies enabling Walmart to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks as well as offer Rakuten Kobo eReaders in Walmart stores and online in the United States. This project will start later this year. All eBook content will be accessible through a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app available on all iOS and Android devices, a desktop app and Kobo e-Readers, which will also be sold at Walmart later this year.