TECHNOLOGY

Walmart opens its first online store in Japan; orders fulfilled in the U.S.

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart has gone live in Japan as it looks to gain a better foothold in the country’s lucrative e-commerce market.

The discount giant, in collaboration with Japanese online giant Rakuten, has opened its first Walmart e-commerce site in Japan. The new “Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store,” located on the Rakuten Ichiba digital shopping mall, offers a wide variety of U.S. branded products, including fashion apparel, outdoor goods and toys.

The store will initially offer approximately 1,200 products from a diverse range of brands. The orders will be fulfilled in the U.S. and air freighted directly to Japanese customers, with a “no surprises policy” that includes shipping, duties and taxes in the product price.

Walmart plans to continue expanding its product range and adding new product categories from its international assortment to the site. The chain’s Japanese subsidiary, supermarket operator Seiyu GK, will provide customer support for the store, leveraging its years of experience serving local Japanese consumers.

“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 VP, Walmart International. “The carefully curated assortment being offered on our flagship store reflects this insight and our ongoing dedication to Japanese shoppers.”

The digital Walmart store on Rakuten Ichiba is part of a strategic alliance between Walmart and Rakuten that was announced early in 2018.

In October, Rakuten and Walmart’s Seiyu unit jointly officially opened the Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper. The new online grocery delivery service leverages Seiyu’s experience in the local fresh food and grocery segments to bring greater convenience to Rakuten’s roughly 99 million-strong membership base.

In addition, Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo was launched in August, giving Walmart U.S. customers access to a comprehensive catalog of more than 6 million eBooks and audiobooks, as well as the Kobo eReader and a co-branded free reading app for iOS and Android devices.

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