Adobe Digital Dialogue

Japanese internet giant Rakuten on spinach, data analysis, and customer satisfaction

With more than 500 mil­lion glob­al users, 99 mil­lion of them in its home mar­ket, Japan’s Rakuten is already one of the APAC region’s Inter­net giants. And data-dri­ven insights that can be gleaned about that giant cus­tomer base that are now dri­ving the busi­ness to even greater suc­cess.

A fine grained under­stand­ing of cus­tomer behav­iour the com­pa­ny is now devel­op­ing means that Rakuten is able to respond to customer’s clear­ly artic­u­lat­ed requests, but also iden­ti­fy their “sub­con­scious desires” and hence pro­vide prod­ucts and ser­vices that met those unspo­ken needs build­ing both rev­enues and loy­al­ty.

One of the sig­nif­i­cant assets Rakuten has is the customer’s data, at scale and with life­time behav­iour data, which are linked by the customer’s Rakuten mem­ber ID. This allows detailed data ana­lyt­ics to be per­formed that can then inform mar­ket­ing, estab­lish­ing a seg­ment of one with mar­ket­ing con­tent deliv­ered to the right per­son, at the right time and on the right device.

The degree of seg­men­ta­tion now pos­si­ble includes the abil­i­ty to cre­ate a seg­ment of men who live in Tokyo, aged 20–25, who pur­chased an iPhone 5 two years ago but who have been brows­ing Android phones fre­quent­ly in the last two weeks and who spend more than 500,000 yen per month on their cred­it card, and have trav­elled out­side Japan twice in the last six months.

Iden­ti­fy­ing mem­bers with such hyper-detail-con­tent is an extreme­ly pow­er­ful assets for our data dri­ven mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives.

This insight is also help­ing Rakuten build its inter­net ecosys­tem by suc­cess­ful­ly migrat­ing cus­tomers from its tra­di­tion­al offline ser­vices and across to online offer­ings thanks to a more detailed under­stand­ing of the influ­enc­ing fac­tors that make peo­ple tran­si­tion to an online ser­vice when they have tra­di­tion­al­ly pre­ferred offline alter­na­tives.

For exam­ple online gro­cery shop­pers in Japan have been ret­i­cent to buy veg­eta­bles oth­er than car­rots and pota­toes online, the per­cep­tion being that oth­er soft­er veg­eta­bles might be dam­aged in tran­sit.

How­ev­er analy­sis of shop­ping pat­terns found that when a con­sumer bought spinach online, and found that it had trav­elled well, that expe­ri­ence unlocked the gate to much more online veg­etable shop­ping. Har­ness­ing that insight Rakuten has been pro­vid­ing spinach coupons and dis­counts to online shop­pers when they buy their pota­toes and car­rots, con­fi­dent that those cus­tomers who take the plunge and buy the spinach will then go on to sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase the range of fruit and veg­eta­bles they are pre­pared to pur­chase online.

This sim­ple insight, into the pow­er of spinach, has unlocked an oppor­tu­ni­ty to sig­nif­i­cant­ly boost the over­all suc­cess of Rakuten’s cus­tomer ser­vice, and there­fore prof­itabil­i­ty. This is just a small and sim­ple step, on a long jour­ney to the cre­ation of a tru­ly respon­sive and engaged expe­ri­ence for all our cus­tomers.


Is spinach real­ly the key to suc­cess? Dis­cov­er how Rakuten is unlock­ing growth, by dig­ging into data at Adobe Sym­po­sium!




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