By Karen Moss

Play.com announced the launch of Rakuten Marketplace, a new merchant retail offering that will empower retailers to create their own branded e-shops within the Rakuten Play.com website.

Merchants listing on Rakuten Marketplace will be supported by a team of e-commerce consultants (ECCs), from shop front design and e-marketing, to interpreting customer analytics. Key features in the Rakuten Marketplace Merchant Toolbox include:

Rakuten Play.com Superpoints – This online loyalty scheme lets retailers reward and incentivise customers. Customer Databases and Rakuten Mail – Customers that shop with a merchant, can choose to receive updates on the latest products and special offers.

Branded Shop Front – Rather than being confined to a standard template, on the Rakuten Marketplace all merchants will have the freedom to bring their brand to life. E-commerce Consultants – Merchants are assigned a personal contact from the team of e-commerce consultants to work collaboratively to maximise sales.

Adam Stewart, marketing director at Rakuten’s Play.com explains: "Let’s face it, competition online is fierce. Whatever a retailer’s size, it’s crucial that they are armed with the tools to create a shopping experience that offers customers more than just the lowest price tag.

"Rather than competing with our merchant, at Rakuten’s Play.com we want to create lasting partnerships and help them maximise sales through the platform - it’s win, win, win. “

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