USA – Walmart has partnered with Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce company to launch a new online grocery delivery service with an aim to combat competition from rival Amazon.

The partnership will enable Walmart to be the exclusive retailer of Rakuten’s products, selling e-books and audiobooks in its US stores and online.

As part of the agreement, Walmart will offer Kobo’s nearly 6 million book titles and digital book cards in stores, enabling more than 4,000 shops to carry a broader selection of books for customers.

Development of the Walmart/Kobo co-branded app will enable customers to access all e-book content in a partnership that will establish Walmart as a world-class digital retailer in the US.

Rakuten and Walmart subsidiary Seiyu GK have also established a joint venture with intention to launch a new grocery delivery service, Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper in Japan as Walmart seeks to strengthen its position in the country.

According to the two companies, the move was as a result of the changing consumer needs and preferences.

To address the customer concerns, the companies were expanding on its services, offering a line-up of convenient items such as cut vegetables, partially prepared foods and meal kits in addition to fresh produce.

To reach this expanding pool of customers, the alliance will enable the two companies operate at high capacity utilization of its capacities in order to realise high returns.

“Rakuten is a strong e-commerce business and we’re excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan.

Here in Japan and everywhere we operate, we’re constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile – no matter how customers want to shop.

We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of e-books and audiobooks for our customers in the US,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO.

As global leaders in e-commerce and offline shopping, the partnership will allow them to empower customers around the world with innovative services given the fact that Walmart has made a stride in providing the best services to customers at a lower price.

“Walmart is one of the top retailers in the world and one of the largest booksellers in the US.

Our strategy from day one has been to partner with the world’s best retailers, so that they can easily offer their customers the option of reading digitally.

This informs the software and devices we create, the books and authors we promote, and also the partnerships we build.

For us, this is another great opportunity to serve book lovers at Walmart, those people who make reading an important part of their lives,” said Michael Tamblyn, Rakuten Kobo CEO.