Play.com

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Rakuten Ichiba UK Ltd.
Rakuten Play.com Logo.png
Type Subsidiary
Headquarters Cambridge, UK
Industry Retail
Products DVDs, Music, Video Games, Books, Clothing, Sports & Outdoors, Technology & Office, Home & Garden, Health & Beauty, Toys & Gifts, Baby, Musical Instruments, Hobbies & Craft, Groceries, Pets and Motoring.
Parent Rakuten
Website www.play.com
Alexa rank negative increase 6,143 (April 2014)[1]
Launched 1998

Play.com (a trading name of Rakuten Ichiba UK Ltd.) is a Cambridge-based online retailer of DVDs, Music, Musical Instruments, Video Games, Books, Clothing, Sports & Outdoors, Technology & Office, Home & Garden, Health & Beauty, Toys & Gifts and Baby Products. In April 2014 Play.com introduced four new categories - Hobbies & Craft, Motoring, Pets and Groceries, as well as multiple sub-categories including Vinyl, Luggage, Jewellery, Watches and Footwear. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rakuten.[2]

Founded in 1998, Play.com was one of the first online retailers to target the UK. Today Play.com has over 17 million registered customer accounts. In 2012 it was voted the UK's Best Entertainment Retailer in Verdict's Customer Satisfaction Awards.

After changes to the rules of Low-value consignment relief in April 2012, which had previously exempted the company's sales from certain taxes, it was announced that Play.com would be closing its direct retail business in March 2013. Since then, the website has operated as part of the global Rakuten family as a Marketplace for third party sellers to sell through.[3]

The Play.com website is due to be replaced by Rakuten.co.uk in March 2015.[4]

History[edit]

Play.com was founded in 1998 under the name Play247.com, but rebranded as Play.com in 2000. Play.com originally sold region 1 and 2 DVDs only, but has since expanded its range to include CDs and video games and other electronic items. Since 2004 it has sold books and electronics, in 2006 it started selling personal computers, posters and T-shirts and in 2007 it started selling HD DVDs and Blu-rays, with sister site PlayUSA.com selling region 1 DVDs, HD DVDs and region A Blu-ray Discs and offering sales in a range of currencies. The site's interface has been redesigned on a number of occasions.

Play.com was ranked second on the November 2006 UK "Hot Shops List" compiled by IMRG and Hitwise.[5]

In 2008, Play.com started selling DRM-free MP3s, clothing, accessories, and tickets for events, allowing customers to buy and sell tickets. They also held a consumer games show which was open to the public, with tickets available through Play.com. This event was backed by Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Activision, and THQ among others.[6]

On 15 January 2009, a survey published by Verdict Research found Play.com was the UK's second favourite music and video retailer, behind first place Amazon.co.uk and ahead of the now defunct entertainment retailer Zavvi which was third.[7] On 24 February 2009, it was reported that Play.com had topped the National Consumer Satisfaction Index,[8][9] ahead of Amazon.co.uk and iTunes.

In May 2009, Play.com launched a branded Visa credit card in partnership with MBNA. Cardholders received points for purchases made on the website and at other retailers. Points could then be redeemed against products bought on the Play.com website.[10][11]

The PlayUSA.com website was closed down in February 2011. In September 2011, Japan-based Rakuten purchased Play.com for £25 million.[12]

Since March 2013, Play.com has operated solely as an online marketplace, where third party retailers sell products with their listings hosted on the website. All retailers on the Marketplace have the ability to build a fully branded and customised storefront, giving them control of how their products are merchandised.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Play.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ Wood, Zoe (22 September 2011). "Play.com sold to Rakuten of Japan for £25m". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Jersey retailer Play.com closes direct retail business". BBC News. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Campbell, Lisa (27 October 2014). "Rakuten launches new UK website". The Bookseller. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "November Hitwise - IMRG Hot Shops List" - hitwise.com; retrieved 12 May 2007
  6. ^ Ian Ennis (31 January 2008). "Play.com Live: First Major UK Gaming Event". Ripten.com. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Amazon is UK's third favourite retailer". theBookseller.com. Retrieved 15 January 2009. 
  8. ^ "U.K. Consumers Most Satisfied With Play.com". Billboard.biz. 24 February 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Ncsi-Uk". Ncsi-Uk. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Credit Card". Play.com. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  11. ^ "Play.com offers credit card". Pocket-lint.com. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Play.com bought by Japanese firm Rakuten for £25m - Media News". Digital Spy. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 

External links[edit]