Some suggest that a virtual marketplace such as Rakuten is threatened by the rise of social networking. Indeed, all the participants in Marketplace 3.0 mind find themselves similarly challenged. There are new tools that let you curate or search for products across multiple sites, and those could be seen as competitors.
How to handle this? The key is not to take a defensive stance and build a wall around your business, but to reach out and make positive connections that create a better experience for all involved.
I see social networks less as a threat and more as potential collaborators that will ultimately benefit all. In my book, I discuss how we at Rakuten work with social networks such as Facebook, LINE and others. We do this because we see how companies like Facebook or LINE and a company like Rakuten could benefit from working together.
Social networks are not in the retail business. They are in the communication business. They do not want to get into the day-to-day work of managing business deals or handling deliveries. That is what we in e-commerce do. By playing our respective roles well, we can all make our customers even happier.
Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO Rakuten Inc.