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Another Free Shipping Promotion From Rakuten Global Market

rakuten free shipping international

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13 replies to this topic

#1 A Smug Dill

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 13:14

As it does from time to time, Rakuten Global Market is running another free international shipping promotion campaign, effective now until 22 March 2019 09:59 (Japan Standard Time).

Australia and NZ are sadly not included (as usual), but UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Canada, USA and Russia are in scope.

Minimum spend on a single order to qualify is ¥12,000 from a single shop that is on a somewhat limited list of participating shops; retailers of fountain pens and inks of interest are even fewer. I know AT-N Nagasaka and Nagasawa Stationery Center (of Kobe Ink Story fame) are among them, however. (Edit: Oh, and there is also Pen Gallery Hogado.)

I've bought from both of those shops on Rakuten in the past, and the products I ordered were delivered just fine without incident. Now, I'm not really a fan of Nagasawa as a retailer myself, but I'm quite happy with the service I got from AT-N.

Those of you in the UK and North America who may be interested in getting Japanese domestic market fountain pen models and inks could well benefit from this opportunity, in a way that I cannot.

Edited by A Smug Dill, 12 March 2019 - 15:11.

Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. We're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but not necessarily any shared values, and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative or position.
 

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#2 johnboz

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 14:59

Thank you for sharing this info! I was just looking on Rakuten last night and wondering about the ordering process. I've never ordered from them before, so this might be a good chance to give the site a try. 


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#3 XYZZY

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 19:59

Thank you for sharing this info! I was just looking on Rakuten last night and wondering about the ordering process. I've never ordered from them before, so this might be a good chance to give the site a try. 

 

I'm not quite a Rakuten noob, below is my experience.  I've ordered 3 times, twice from Pen-House, once from Pen Gallery Hogado.  I've had positive experiences with both shops.  The comments here are more about the process of ordering on Rakuten, and not the shops themselves.

 

Doing the shopping and getting things into your cart is easy.  The sites are mostly English, although I'm not sure how much of that is Rakuten and how much is the browser automatically translating for me.  What isn't in English are the many images that have text on them.  Hint:  Use Google Translate on your phone which can real-time translate from the camera:  Hold the phone up to the computer display and your phone will show the English translation of what's in the images.

 

The weird bit comes when actually closing the deal.  There is tons of text not in English and you have no idea what's going on.  The first time I copy/pasted everything into Google translate and found it was all legal disclaimer stuff.  The kind of stuff most of us just agree to without consulting our lawyer first  :)   IIRC the page is a typical "Check here to agree...   Click OK"  I can imagine that many people run away in frustration at this point since it's all in Japanese.

 

Once you get through the purchase you find that it's not really "the purchase".  You'll get a confirmation email with the subtotal.  Then in a day or two you'll get an email from the shop telling you if they really have everything in stock, and what the shipping amount will come to.  From there you agree or disagree, and make the actual PayPal transaction.  Again, most all of this is in Japanese and is pretty nerve-wracking the first time through.  But in the middle of those emails you'll see the items in your cart in whatever English or mixed Japanese-English as when you first ordered, so it's easy to realize that it's your order.

 

Note that the "check stock and calculate shipping" gets in the way of instant gratification. I think the time of day when I place orders the shops are closed, so there's several hours before they can do their thing and reply.  Then a few hours until I see the email and complete the transaction, by which time they're sleeping again.  So, basically, I find that the people are very responsive but between the process and the time zone differences it takes a day or two more to actually close the order.



#4 johnboz

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 21:05

 

The weird bit comes when actually closing the deal.  There is tons of text not in English and you have no idea what's going on.  The first time I copy/pasted everything into Google translate and found it was all legal disclaimer stuff.  The kind of stuff most of us just agree to without consulting our lawyer first  :)   IIRC the page is a typical "Check here to agree...   Click OK"  I can imagine that many people run away in frustration at this point since it's all in Japanese.

 

Once you get through the purchase you find that it's not really "the purchase".  You'll get a confirmation email with the subtotal.  Then in a day or two you'll get an email from the shop telling you if they really have everything in stock, and what the shipping amount will come to.  From there you agree or disagree, and make the actual PayPal transaction.  Again, most all of this is in Japanese and is pretty nerve-wracking the first time through.  But in the middle of those emails you'll see the items in your cart in whatever English or mixed Japanese-English as when you first ordered, so it's easy to realize that it's your order.

 

Note that the "check stock and calculate shipping" gets in the way of instant gratification. I think the time of day when I place orders the shops are closed, so there's several hours before they can do their thing and reply.  Then a few hours until I see the email and complete the transaction, by which time they're sleeping again.  So, basically, I find that the people are very responsive but between the process and the time zone differences it takes a day or two more to actually close the order.

This is all really helpful. I can imagine being very confused by the process without this heads up. I haven't had a chance to do any shopping yet, so haven't bought anything, but when the time comes this should prove to be very helpful. Thanks!


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#5 A Smug Dill

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 22:18

The comments here are more about the process of ordering on Rakuten, and not the shops themselves.
...‹snip›...
The weird bit comes when actually closing the deal.
...‹snip›...
Once you get through the purchase you find that it's not really "the purchase".  You'll get a confirmation email with the subtotal.  Then in a day or two you'll get an email from the shop telling you if they really have everything in stock, and what the shipping amount will come to.  From there you agree or disagree, and make the actual PayPal transaction.
...‹snip›...
Note that the "check stock and calculate shipping" gets in the way of instant gratification. I think the time of day when I place orders the shops are closed, so there's several hours before they can do their thing and reply.  Then a few hours until I see the email and complete the transaction, by which time they're sleeping again.  So, basically, I find that the people are very responsive but between the process and the time zone differences it takes a day or two more to actually close the order.

 

Well, the way (or at least one way) to look at it is that what you're doing upfront is placing an order — no more, no less — after browsing the shop's catalogue. It's then up to the shop to check the order, verify that it can accept and fulfil it, make any adjustments to the total amount (for separately charged shipping and handling, tax liability, etc.), and then get the customer to confirm whether they want to proceed or cancel.

 

To be fair, even Amazon Australia has cancelled accepted orders on me after the better half of a week has passed, on the basis of not being able to source stock to fulfil them.

 

I have bought from several different shops on Rakuten Global Market and Rakuten Ichiba, sometimes using an Australian delivery address and on other occasions a Japanese delivery address, and there is a great deal of variation in how the last part of the ordering process plays out. With delivery addresses outside of Japan, the rule is that the shop will give you a quote on the shipping (usually not free), perhaps with a choice of different shipping methods (even though you've already nominated one in the ordering process) at different prices, and give you a number of days to confirm acceptance of the quote; if you do not respond to expressly confirm, then the order is automatically cancelled. You could make any sort of adjustments to the order at that point, ask questions, or make requests such as, "Could you please remove the pens from their retail boxes, and give me a revised quote on shipping the order to me without the plastic cases?" With delivery addresses in Japan, the shipping charges are confirmed upfront (much like buying from Amazon), and even though I still get automated "please confirm the details of your order" emails, the rule is that the order will proceed if I don't immediately respond and jump onto it to cancel or suspend.

 

Shops that elect to not charge the Japanese domestic consumption tax for overseas orders will do so in the last step, after the order has been received using tax-inclusive prices that are listed. (I particularly dislike Nagasawa Stationery Center and Pen Gallery Hogado because they double-dip on tax for Australian orders.)

 

Once an order has been confirmed by/with the shop, then it gets processed and shipped.


Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. We're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but not necessarily any shared values, and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative or position.
 

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#6 MalcLee

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 22:50

Thanks for the heads up ASD. I hate it when everyone else gets the free delivery, as if the antipodes is a big black hole on the map.

#7 A Smug Dill

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 23:09

Thanks for the heads up ASD. I hate it when everyone else gets the free delivery, as if the antipodes is a big black hole on the map.

 

 

Well, once in June 2018 (as far as I know, since I didn't start looking at Rakuten until shortly before that), a similar free shipping promotion campaign included Australia. On that occasion, Nagasawa Stationery Center gave me very good customer service, even though it was ultimately disappointing because they couldn't fulfil my order for a Nakaya with a sandblasted briar pen body; they ended up shipping the remainder of the order, which was just three 15ml bottles of Pilot Iroshizuku ink, to me at their cost even though the revised order did not meet the free shipping promotion's minimum spend threshold.

 

Then the Australian GST on low-value imports thing came in.

 

When I ordered from Nagasawa the next time, they charged me the 8% domestic consumption tax (unlike AT-N Nagasaka and Komamono-Honpo, which will exclude it from the revised total when they review the accepted orders) as 'a handling charge for international orders' and then added 10% GST on top. That cancelled out all the goodwill I have for them due the previous order. I take that back. I just went back through an entire folder of emails to do with tens of Rakuten orders, and I have no evidence in writing that Nagasawa changed 10% Australian GST even as recently as November 2018, well after the low-value imports thing kicked in, even though they did charge me the 8% domestic consumption tax for a direct export to Australia. Maybe I made a mistake, and if so, I apologise to all of you who have been reading this thread and may have been misled by me, as well as to Nagasawa Stationery Center.

 

As far as I'm aware, Pen Gallery Hogado does the same. (Yes, I do have evidence that Hogado charged the 8% on top of the base product pricing, then another 10% GST over the whole lot.) Also, neither of those shops seem to offer any great discounts, including on pretty common pen models that I can get cheaper from others, so I'm disinclined to buy from either of them.

 

AT-N will charge 10% GST when it revises the total on an accepted order (confirmed), effectively changing the applicable tax rate from 8% to 10%. The 2% difference is no big deal.

 

Komamono-Honpo doesn't include either tax on Australian orders. However, the range of products they are prepared to sell and ship overseas directly is very limited, compared to what they list on Rakuten Ichiba. They also don't participate in RGM's free international shipping promotional campaigns, as far as I'm aware.


Edited by A Smug Dill, 14 March 2019 - 14:19.

Let's give each other due respect, and approach discussion rigorously. We're all peers and equals here as fellow hobbyists, with common interests in the acquisition and use of fountain pens, but not necessarily any shared values, and no obligation to offer each other moral support for one's narrative or position.
 

Don't think 'cos I understand, I care
Don't think 'cos I'm talking, we're friends

—'6 Underground' by Sneaker Pimps


#8 MalcLee

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 23:26

The impression that Im getting -by leaving Australia and NZ out of various promotions (youre quite right that not all vendors on Rakuten participate in each and every promotion) is the cost in shipping items to Australia in addition to other barriers to dealing with non-Japanese people (we can be quite difficult).
When the decision was made to apply GST on low value items - the AQIS had threatened delaying processing of items from non-participating-vendors as a means to encourage compliance - basically an ancient form of tax farming IMO.

Thank you for your thorough explanation and opinion of the various Rakuten vendors and it is very interesting to see that many of them are actually collecting the Australian GST. So far, Ive had no issues with EMS deliveries coming in from Japan.

Edited by MalcLee, 12 March 2019 - 23:37.


#9 inkstainedruth

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 00:03

If I ever order anything from Rakuten, I'm going to call a friend of mine to do the translation stuff for me (she had once recommended the site to me, but I couldn't find what I wanted on it at the time).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#10 XYZZY

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 00:06

Dill, thanks for the extra info.  That's interesting.

 

If it wasn't obvious to readers of my post:  I'm happy with my Rakuten experience.  My intent was that there are some differences between Rakuten and what we're trained to expect with online ordering in other countries, and that the differences are just differences, not problems.  But since I'm still pretty new to Rakuten I'm also still sensitive to the fact that those differences can present a quite a hurdle when we can't read the instructions and aren't aware of the routines or traditions.

 

As soon as I get home tonight I'm going to see if there's anything I want to get to take advantage of the shipping deal.  Thanks for the heads-up on that, too!



#11 Theroc

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 11:38

Thank you for the info. I've been thinking about using Rakuten again. I had an account way back when, it used to be a buy.com account. However, this time my interest is purely in their global marketplace.

Your post gave me that final nudge.

Looking forward to a cart-full of Metaphys, CDT, Apica and other severely Japanese merchandise.


Edited by Theroc, 14 March 2019 - 11:38.


#12 XYZZY

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 15:00

Thank you for the info. I've been thinking about using Rakuten again. I had an account way back when, it used to be a buy.com account. However, this time my interest is purely in their global marketplace.
Your post gave me that final nudge.
Looking forward to a cart-full of Metaphys, CDT, Apica and other severely Japanese merchandise.


Wow, thanks for that flashback. In the 90s I used to get so much from buy.com, they were my first stop for anything online. That was when Amazon was still branching out from just books. I hadn't even thought to wonder what happened to them, but your post prompted me to enter "buy.com" in the browser, which redirected me to rakuten. I "created" my rakuten account in October 2018, and they seemed to think I had an account. At the time I wondered if I had created a rakuten account but never used it and forgotten about it, but now I know it was probably the buy.com account carried over.

#13 anonymous3715

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 00:42

Thanks for the info! It's always good to see a free shipping offer!



#14 Theroc

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Posted 16 March 2019 - 05:55

Wow, thanks for that flashback. In the 90s I used to get so much from buy.com, they were my first stop for anything online. That was when Amazon was still branching out from just books. I hadn't even thought to wonder what happened to them, but your post prompted me to enter "buy.com" in the browser, which redirected me to rakuten. I "created" my rakuten account in October 2018, and they seemed to think I had an account. At the time I wondered if I had created a rakuten account but never used it and forgotten about it, but now I know it was probably the buy.com account carried over.

 

Yeah I used to buy lots of refurbished PCs for work from Buy.com all the time. They were ahead of Amazon and Newegg with their 3rd-party market place. Then Amazon Prime happened. Eventually they were acquired by Rakuten which had no name recognition in the US. After a while I stopped using them because most sellers had storefronts on Amazon and Newegg too.

But the global.rakuten.com market place is a different matter. It's like a Japanese Taobao (or AliExpress) but in English. The prospect is mouthwatering.







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