Japan's Rakuten continues Amazon pursuit, will buy US logistics firm

Japan's largest online retailer said it will acquire Webgistix, an online third-party shipping service for retailers

Rakuten, Japan's largest online retailer, is acquiring a U.S. logistics firm as it continues to build out its infrastructure to compete with foreign rivals like Amazon.com.

The company said Thursday it will acquire Webgistix, which provides warehouse and shipping services to online retailers. Webgistix says it can provide 1-2 day shipping for customers from its U.S. facilities in New York, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Reno.

The acquisition fits with Rakuten's larger strategy of operating a giant online shopping mall for merchants, as opposed to selling directly to customers. Earlier this year, Rakuten converted U.S. site Buy.com, which it acquired in 2010, over to its model. Buy.com now redirects to rakuten.com, and it has become one of thousands of online retailers on Rakuten.

Webgistix will help Rakuten offer its online retailers, many too small to have their own infrastructure, the ability to ship quickly to customers. Webgistix has marketed itself as a way for smaller retailers to compete with Amazon without selling their products through the site.

"Webgistix believes that its suite of solutions provides retailers with an equivalent of Amazon Prime service while maintaining their independence and brand experience," the company said earlier this year in a news release.

Retailers ship their goods to Webgistix ahead of time, then integrate their e-commerce systems so purchases are shipped quickly after payment. Webgistix was formed in 2001 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The companies did not disclose a selling price.

Rakuten made a similar purchase last year in Europe, when it bought French logistics firm Alpha Direct Service, or ADS. The company, now a Rakuten subsidiary, operates two large shipping centers near Paris.

A household name in Japan, Rakuten counts about 60 percent of the population as members, and is aggressively expanding abroad. Along with Buy.com in the U.S., Rakuten has acquired Ikeda in Brazil, Tradoria in Germany, and Play.com in the U.K. in recent years.

The Japanese firm openly refers to Amazon.com as its main competition. Although the company mainly stays away from selling products directly to customers, it is rapidly expanding its Kobo e-reader business at home to compete with Amazon's Kindle.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuese-commerceRakuteninternetWebgistixMergers and acquisitions

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?