In-Depth Marketing Strategy of Rakuten – Detailed Explanation

Updated on: Oct 3, 2022
Marketing Strategy Of Rakuten - Featured Image

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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

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In a previous article, we learnt about the detailed SWOT analysis of Baidu. In this article, we will explain the marketing strategy of Rakuten.

One of the world’s largest e-commerce & online retailing companies – Rakuten is an e-commerce and online retailing firm based in Tokyo, Japan founded by Hiroshi Mikitani (currently CEO) in 1997. They’ve been in business since 1997 and have been giving services for the past two decades. It is commonly referred to as Japan’s “Amazon”.

As digital marketing is an integral part of carrying out business online, it is so important for your business to have an online presence. If you are someone who would want to learn more about it, check out our free Masterclass on Digital Marketing 101 by the CEO and Founder of IIDE, Karan Shah.

We will fully cover the marketing strategy of Rakuten in this blog. But before diving deep into it, let’s start by learning about the company’s story, target audience and digital presence.

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About Rakuten – Company Overview

Marketing Strategy Of Rakuten - The Founder of Rakhuten
(Hiroshi Mikitani – The Founder of Rakuten, Source: Rakuten Today)

Hiroshi Mikitani launched Rakuten as MDM, Inc. on February 7, 1997. Rakuten Shopping Mall, an online shopping mall, first opened its doors on May 1, 1997. Six people worked for the company, and there were 13 merchants on the internet.

In June 1999, the company’s name was changed to Rakuten. “Rakuten” is a Japanese term that signifies “optimism.” Rakuten Group, Inc. is Japan’s largest e-commerce corporation and the world’s third-largest e-commerce platform. Rakuten can be used for e-commerce, e-reading, travel, banking, securities, MasterCard, e-money, portals and media, online marketing, and professional sports by both consumers and enterprises. 

With operations in Asia, Western Europe, and the Americas, the corporation is currently expanding globally. Over 1.5 billion people around the world benefit from their 70+ businesses, which include e-commerce, digital content, media planning, communications, and FinTech.

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Quick Stats on Rakuten
CEO Hiroshi Mikitani
CFO Naho Kono
Area Served Japan
Industry Online Shopping
Market Share/ Revenue $6.81 Billion (2022)
Vision Creating value through innovation and entrepreneurship. By providing high-quality services that help our users and partners grow, we aim to advance and enrich society.
Tagline ‘Walk Together’


Marketing Strategy of Rakuten

Let’s learn about the marketing strategy of Rakuten. And how they carry out their marketing campaigns etc.

Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning


Rakuten is an e-commerce and Internet service business based in Japan. The company is divided into three reportable business segments:

  • eCommerce sites such as travel booking sites, online cashback sites, portal and digital content sites, and Internet retailer Rakuten Ichiba are all included in the Internet Services category.
  • Credit cards, electronic money, banking/securities, and life insurance are all examples of financial offerings/services available on the internet.
  • Communication and messaging services are among the others.


Rakuten’s business model is multi-sided, having two interdependent client segments that are both required to operate:

  • Individuals looking to order products and services over the internet are referred to as consumers.
  • Businesses wish to offer their goods and services through the internet.


Customization, cost reduction, risk reduction, and brand/status are the four key value propositions offered by Rakuten:

  • The company allows merchants to construct their own pages on the website, allowing them to highlight their stores’ uniqueness.
  • Rakuten Super Points, the company’s loyalty programme, allows customers to save money.
  • The company mitigates risk by thoroughly evaluating potential merchants.
  • The company has created a strong brand as a result of its success.

Marketing Campaigns

Marketing Strategy Of Rakuten - Campaign

Top Marketing Campaigns of Rakuten.

  • Rakuten uses an Affiliate program as a marketing campaign. Affiliate marketing can be set up quickly and easily. It adds value to the channel and can be budgeted.
  • Rakuten uses Social media for marketing campaigns. As it provides services on the internet, it uses social media as the main source of marketing.
  • As Rakuten entered its sports business it is using sports as a brand marketing campaign. It is a successful campaign. It targets a large audience through a branding campaign.
  • Rakuten started an influencer marketing program, where individuals can join and on every qualified referral they get $25.

Social Media Marketing

Rakuten is active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Of these three platforms it has the highest following on LinkedIn, followed by Twitter, and then Facebook. It has about 201,924 followers on LinkedIn, nearly 92,900 followers on Twitter and almost 928,695 followers on Facebook.

The posts contain mostly promotional and informational content along with some posts related to their new product launch.

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SEO Strategies

Marketing Strategy Of Rakuten - SEO

SEO strategy is the best strategy which doesn’t have any alternative. Rakuten uses it Amazingly. If you see the picture above – you will understand that most of the traffic (374,011) comes from SEO searches online. Rakuten is responsible for (1.2M) of organic traffic, with the remaining coming from paid marketing activities. 

This demonstrates that Rakuten has a flawless SEO strategy in place, as well as a willingness to work hard enough to maintain the brand soaring in the Google organic SERP rankings.

Influencer Marketing

The process of identifying, engaging, and supporting individuals who initiate conversations with a brand’s customers is known as influencer marketing. It is a growing trend used in public relations campaigns. In recent years, this strategy has become increasingly focused on social media, allowing brands to market through social media influencers. Influencer marketing will also be a big trend in 2022 and beyond.

Influencer marketing, which mixes brands and influencers working together, maybe a strong strategy that may help businesses develop. It is a marketing approach that’s been employed successfully by thousands of organisations and brands for over a decade and is still growing.

Rakuten has collaborated with YouTube Gamers and Content Creators through its app Rakuten Viber. Rakuten has started an influencer marketing program, every individual is an influencer. If he gets a qualified referral he gets $25 for each referral. Rakuten is also a major sports sponsor with 1.4 billion subscribers and will debut the NFT platform. Similarly, creative content creators were targeted to promote the app Rakuten Viber.

E-Commerce Strategies

Marketing Strategy Of Rakuten - Ecom

Rakuten Ichiba is an online eCommerce website of Rakuten, It is the world’s top 4 eCommerce site and Japan’s top1 e-commerce website.

  • It makes products easily discoverable by users.
  • It Pays attention to what customers desire.
  • Customer service is at the heart of eCommerce shopping.
  • It gives wonderful cashback coupons to the user.
  • It gives amazing offers on every sale.

Mobile Apps

Marketing Strategy Of Rakuten - App

Rakuten has multiple apps for all different businesses. 

Check the apps below: 

[Viki, rakuten Insight, Rakuten cash back, Rakuten Achat&vente en ligne, Rakuten Link, rakuten Casa,, Rakuten Travel & etc]

  • It makes the apps user-friendly for all the different services
  • It offers so many offers to attract the customers
  • It also gives cashback coupons.

Content Marketing Strategies

Rakuten utilises Facebook and Twitter for its content marketing. Rakuten uses Branding & promotional content on all the platforms. It uses all the social media platforms to share its branding & promotional content. It shapes the content into action-oriented. It also releases press releases to tell about the company’s work.

We know you also want to attract and engage your desired target audience without forcing them to make purchases. Well, for that, you’ll need to muster a basic understanding of how to create a holistic content marketing strategy to ultimately convert them into paying customers without insisting they pay.

This ends with an elaborative marketing strategy of Rakuten. Let us conclude our learning below from the marketing strategy of Rakuten.

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Conclusion – What’s Unique in Rakuten Marketing?

Great! As we reach the conclusion we get to know about the importance of marketing strategies. Rakuten is a Wonderful company, it uses all marketing strategies to be in the market. As it is a service provider on the internet, it uses all online platforms to do marketing.

Digital marketing is crucial since it links a company with its clients when they are online and is effective across all sectors. It links businesses with ideal consumers through SEO and PPC on Google, social media marketing, and email marketing. If you would like to learn more and develop skills, check out IIDE’s 4-Month Digital Marketing Course to learn more.

Alternatively, you can enrol in one of our free online masterclasses led by IIDE’s CEO, Karan Shah, to gain insight into the field of digital marketing. 

We hope this blog on the marketing strategy of Rakuten has given you a good insight into the company’s marketing strategies.

If you like such in-depth analysis of companies just like the marketing strategy of Rakuten check out our IIDE Knowledge portal for more fascinating case studies.

Thank you for taking the time to read the marketing strategy of Rakuten, and do share your thoughts on this case study marketing strategy of Rakuten in the comments section below.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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