Rakuten buys US click & collect specialist Curbside

Japanese e-commerce group Rakuten has recently bought US company Curbside, a pioneer in click & collect solutions and geolocation tools for the retail industry. Curbside's most popular service, ‘Arrive’, uses shoppers’ smartphones to alert retailers in real-time when customers approach the store to collect their click & collect order, so that it can be delivered by the curbside.

The ‘Arrive’ service alerts retailers when customers approach the store, so that their click & collect order can be delivered by the curbside - Curbside

In the USA, ‘Arrive’ has been adopted notably by the Westfield shopping malls and retailers like Sephora, CVS, Nordstrom and Chevron. It has also made inroads in the restaurant industry, where it is used by order-ahead website Yelp and chains like Pizza Hut, Chipotle and many others. Curbside couldn’t fail to attract the attention of Rakuten. The Japanese group, with 1.2 billion users in about thirty markets, is keen to hold its ground as it faces competitors such as Amazon and Alibaba.

“Curbside changed the way brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants interact with consumers,” said Rakuten, explaining its interest in the US company. “Curbside and Rakuten share the vision of a future in which mobile commerce is locally based and the expansion of our website dedicated to retailers, enabling them to offer a seamless purchasing experience inside and outside their stores, represents a huge opportunity,” said the CEO of Curbside, Jaron Waldman.

In the financial year closed at the end of December 2017, Rakuten recorded a 187.8% explosion in net income, reaching JPY110.58 billion (€830 million). The figure exceeded expectations, notably thanks to the strong results of Rakuten’s business and a series of exceptional gains in its investment portfolio. Rakuten’s revenue in the period rose by 20.8% to JPY944.47 billion (€7.1 billion), but its operating profit rose 90.2%, reaching JPY149.34 billion (€1.1 billion), in line with analysts’ expectations.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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