American retail giant Walmart has joined hands with one of the top e-commerce firms in Japan for an online grocery delivery service to be launched later this year.
Walmart announced that its subsidiary, Seiyu GK, will be partnering with Rakuten for the online grocery deliver service to be called “Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper” which will be launched in the second half of the year. The initiative will enable both firms to increase their foothold both in Japan and the United States.
The move is seen to cash in on the growing trend of Japanese consumers relying more on Internet-based services for their food consumption. According to the Yano Research Institute, Japanese consumers spent approximately $19 billion on food deliveries in 2017.
Seiyu GK presently has its own online grocery delivery service and reports indicate that this will be rolled into the new online service. The upcoming service will also get orders from Seiyu stores. It will also feature products and meal kits from merchants on Rakuten’s platform. The Japanese firm is expected to lend its expertise in e-commerce in creating a website for the online grocery service.
Walmart to sell e-books, e-readers
Walmart is also said to sell e-books and e-readers from Rakuten division Kobo. Walmart will be the sole mass retailer of Kobo in the United States, allowing it to sell millions of Kobo titles through its website, Walmart.com, later in the year. All content from Kobo will be made available through an app that users can access on their mobile devices, PCs and Kobo e-readers.
It remains to be seen how this move will enable the new partners to compete with Amazon, which is the overwhelming leader in e-book sales in the United States. Kobo accounted for a measly .3 percent of e-book sales in the US compared to the 83 percent of Amazon. Things are different in Canada, though, where Kobo has been giving Amazon some competition. Amazon accounts for 57 percent of the sales in the country while Kobo has about 25 percent.
The partnership with Rakuten is one example of how companies like Walmart are moving to compete in the ever-competitive digital market. While Walmart has grown its own e-commerce capabilities, it appears that it is looking for more strategic partnerships with other e-commerce firms in a bid to grow. The firm had previously worked Google by selling its products on Google Home and Google Express. The new partnership with Rakuten signals that Walmart plans to continue this strategy.