Rakuten announced its full-scale entry into coupon services on September 3th after acquiring shares in Shareee Inc., which operates the Shareee coupon website. This move is one of Rakuten’s “O2O” (online-to-offline) projects designed to expand its reach in offline consumer spending.
The Shareee coupon website deals mainly in premium coupons offering 50% or more off services at restaurants, hotels and other leisure facilities. It currently ranks as the third largest coupon service within Japan after Groupon and Ponpare.
As a first step, the Rakuten Anshin (secure online) Payment Service offered by Rakuten will be added to Shareee, and Rakuten and Shareee will mutually introduce new customers to each other, using the Rakuten Super Point service as a bridge between their companies. In the future, Rakuten intends to strengthen the links between the Racoupon coupon service, operated since 2010 exclusively for Rakuten Group businesses, and coupon services based on Shareee, so that coupons can be utilized throughout the Rakuten Group.
Rakuten and Shareee plan to use the offline business capacity of Hikari Tsushin Inc., joint operator of Shareee combined with the 78M members and customer appeal of Rakuten in their operations.