Japanese retailers and IT companies ally against Amazon
Nikkei -- Feb 10
The expansion of Amazon.com into physical stores is driving partnerships between Japanese retailers and information technology companies looking to withstand the American e-commerce company's growing might in both online and bricks-and-mortar realms.

Aeon, SoftBank Group and SoftBank unit Yahoo Japan look to operate an online marketplace for a variety of shops, including specialized stores from third-party sellers. Negotiations continue, but the three parties likely will announce a deal soon.

Aeon, Japan's largest retailer, began operating Aeon.com two years ago to sell millions of items offered by group companies, such as food, daily necessities and clothes. The company also operates an online supermarket that chiefly delivers fresh food.

But these websites have enjoyed little success in selling products from outside the Aeon group. At the end of January, subsidiary Aeon Mall closed its website where tenants in bricks-and-mortar shopping centers operated by the unit could sell their products online.

"Our marketplace has weaknesses," Aeon President Motoya Okada acknowledged. Aeon cannot satisfy consumers with only its own product lineup when any item from any brand is accessible through a smartphone.

Yahoo Japan also operates an e-commerce site called Yahoo Shopping, where 650,000 individuals and businesses sell an assortment of products. But Amazon holds the advantage in price and other areas since its goods are procured in bulk and sold directly.

The planned partnership would help Aeon and Yahoo Japan address weaknesses in their individual online retail services.

SoftBank's IT expertise also will be put to use. The partners will consider, for instance, collecting and analyzing consumer behavior and purchase data at Aeon's physical locations and using the information to forecast demand and run stores more efficiently.

ソフトバンク、ヤフー、イオンの3社による「ネット通販」が始まるかも知れません。 ソフトバンクとその子会社であるヤフー、そしてイオンの3社によりますと、食品や日用品などのネット通販事業で「協業を検討している」ということです。
News sources: Nikkei, ANNnewsCH
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