Rakuten Invests in The Grommet Marketplace
By Ina Steiner
After gobbling up major online marketplaces around the globe, including Buy.com in the U.S., Rakuten surprised a lot of people when it made a major investment in social networking site Pinterest a year ago. On Tuesday, the company announced its latest investment in the Daily Grommet, making it the major shareholder after having first invested in the site last August.
The Daily Grommet, being rebranded simply "The Grommet," is one of those curated sites that have become popular - the site describes itself as a "highly curated online marketplace and launch platform for products of great utility, style or invention that haven't hit the big-time yet."
In December, Rakuten had identified curated commerce as one of the five key trends that would fuel ecommerce growth in 2013 in this press release published on EcommerceBytes PR:
"Curated commerce: Shopping for a shirt is one thing, but shopping for a lifestyle or look is another, richer, more engaging trend we're seeing across e-commerce industries from fashion to food. Visually heavy sites such as Pinterest have quickly become popular social media tools, allowing consumers to organize their favorite items into themed collections that they can share with others. Not only does this fuel personal expression in shopping, but other shoppers will use these collections to inform their own purchase decisions; it's an evolution of the powerful personal recommendation."
Rakuten wrote of its investment in The Grommet on Tuesday, "The consolidation of resources will provide The Grommet platform access to a global base of undiscovered consumer products. The Grommet will further advance Rakuten's sourcing and storytelling capabilities and deepen the connections between consumers and merchants."
In addition to the rebranding, The Grommet also got a website redesign.
Rakuten projects The Grommet will increase revenue by 400% in 2013, saying in just four years, The Grommet had launched and empowered 1,600 new products on behalf of small companies or individuals.
"The Grommet's "Citizen Commerce" movement is fostering connections between inventors and consumers, by enabling product purchases that express powerful contemporary values around sustainability, quality, technology and social enterprise. This success has culminated in dramatic growth."
You can visit the marketplace at TheGrommet.com.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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