Japanese Rakuten's Terrible App UX - Analysis

There are a few ecommerce marketplaces operating in Japan including Lazada, Shopee and Aliexpress, and Yahoo! Shopping, but by far the biggest names in the game are Rakuten and Amazon. In terms of monthly visits, the numbers are the following:

Amazon - 626.2 Million
Rakuten - 535.5 Million

Rakuten has a dedicated design lab and still, their app has a terrible user experience, poor marketing campaigns with low quality graphic design.

Analyzing the Rakuten app's poor user experience (UX) in Japan and its competitiveness against Amazon involves several factors:

  1. Complex Navigation: The app may suffer from intricate navigation structures, making it challenging for users to find what they need quickly. Simplifying the menu hierarchy and enhancing search functionalities could significantly improve the overall UX.
  2. Cultural Sensitivity: Rakuten might not fully resonate with the cultural preferences of Japanese users. Adapting the design and features to align with local user behaviors and expectations is crucial for building a connection with the target audience.
  3. Performance Issues: Slow loading times or technical glitches can frustrate users and lead to a subpar experience. Addressing performance issues and ensuring the app runs smoothly on various devices is essential for user satisfaction.
  4. Limited Personalization: Amazon excels in providing personalized recommendations, enhancing user engagement. If Rakuten lacks a robust recommendation engine, users might feel the platform doesn't understand their preferences, impacting the overall user journey.
  5. Payment Process: Streamlining the payment process is vital in e-commerce apps. If Rakuten's payment system is complex or less secure compared to Amazon, users may prefer the latter for a more convenient and trustworthy transaction experience.
  6. Visual Design: The visual design may not be as intuitive or aesthetically pleasing as Amazon's. Investing in a modern, user-friendly interface with clear visual hierarchy and engaging graphics can significantly enhance the overall appeal.
  7. Customer Feedback Integration: Regularly incorporating user feedback into design iterations is crucial for improvement. If Rakuten is not actively seeking and implementing user suggestions, it may struggle to adapt to changing user needs and preferences.
  8. Mobile Responsiveness: Given the prevalence of mobile usage, ensuring the app is fully optimized for various mobile devices is crucial. If Rakuten's app is not responsive or lacks certain mobile-specific features, it may lose users to Amazon's more mobile-friendly experience.

Here's my idea on their homepage to improve conversion and sales.

To reverse the trend and compete effectively with Amazon, Rakuten should conduct in-depth user research, embrace a user-centered design approach, and continuously iterate based on user feedback to create a more appealing and user-friendly app.