gets an e-makeover

NEW YORK and ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Leading global e-commerce marketplace Rakuten Inc. has rebranded, which it acquired May 2010, to Shopping.

Between now and January 30, merchants and consumers will still be able to go to to access Rakuten’s U.S. subsidiary. Starting January 31, however, the site url will change to Anyone going to will be redirected to the new url.

Throughout the next year, Shopping will roll out a series of innovative e-commerce features for merchants through its “storefront toolkit,” including video services, social media integrations, live chat and direct email capabilities. A variety of new consumer features will also be implemented to allow for a greater customized user experience and seamless browsing capabilities.

“Rakuten currently operates e-commerce marketplace businesses in 13 countries and regions around the world. As part of a global marketplace, Shopping will be an online destination where shoppers can get to know and support the shop owners and brands they love in a discovery-oriented shopping experience,” said Mark Kirschner, vice CMO of Rakuten Inc.

“We’ve discovered that consumers and merchants alike are looking beyond the typical vending machine approach of e-commerce towards an experience that focuses on quality over quantity and interactive shopping over faceless transactions. We are raising the bar for online shopping and continuously improving to meet the modern shopper’s wants and needs,” said Roger Andelin, president and CTO of Shopping. Shopping provides a BtoBtoC marketplace that is shop-centric, not product-centric. Its “merchant empowerment” model combines technology and service to offer merchants a initiatives that include training via Rakuten University, ongoing insights through e-commerce consultants, Rakuten Expo live events and customizable shops to engage consumers. Shopping will continue to support U.S. merchants and goods. It will eventually expand the range of products under the rebranding. The brand is not going away completely, however. The brand will operate as a seller within the Shopping marketplace.

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