With its partnership with Japan’s e-commerce giant, Rakuten, Walmart gives a step towards the growth of its presence both online and abroad. With its association with Rakuten in online grocery delivery service, Walmart Stores Inc. is also putting a foot in an area in which Amazon has not yet capitalized.
Walmart is launching the service in the latter half of this year, under its Japan subsidiary Seiyu GK, with the name “Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper.” In addition to its online grocery delivery service, Walmart is partnering with Rakuten in the e-book business, adding a catalog of more than 6 million titles that will be available both in a Rakuten app and the online Walmart store.
“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,” said Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon in a press conference in Rakuten Headquarters. “We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of eBooks and audiobooks for our customers in the U.S.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Japanese spent $19 billion in grocery deliveries between March 2016 and March 2017. So, Walmart is stepping in to a robust but competitive market in Japan, where fresh food delivery has been in operation for decades. Local retailers like the Seven & I Holdings Ltd., operator of Japan’s largest chain of convenience stores, have a large grasp on the market.