Rakuten and Japanese supermarket Seiyu to test drone delivery service

18 June 2019 (Last Updated June 18th, 2019 12:54)

E-commerce company Rakuten has partnered with Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu to test drone delivery service, from 4 July, this year.

E-commerce company Rakuten has partnered with Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu to test drone delivery service, from 4 July, this year.

Seiyu LIVIN Yokosuka store in Yokosuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, will participate in the pilot programme, which will see the delivery of products to Sarushima island in Tokyo Bay.

The test service will run for three months.

Sarushima is an uninhabited island in Tokyo Bay and receives 200,000 visitors for sightseeing every year.

Visitors can place orders for products, from the Seiyu LIVIN Yokosuka store, through the Rakuten Drone app on their smartphone.

“We are very happy to expand our collaboration with Seiyu on Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper to include the field of drone logistics.”

The store offers around 400 products, including fresh produce for barbecues, beverages and first-aid products.

Products ordered will be delivered, through Rakuten Drone delivery drones at designated times, to a drone landing port on the island. The company will deliver chilled items using specially-designed insulated delivery bags developed by Seiyu.

Rakuten managing executive officer Koji Ando said: “We are very happy to expand our collaboration with Seiyu on Rakuten Ichiba and Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper to include the field of drone logistics.

“With this service, we aim to offer customers an innovative, advanced shopping experience in which products they order will be delivered by drone. Based on this initiative, we will accelerate innovation so that more people can experience the convenience of drone delivery.”

Seiyu currently operates retail chain stores across Japan to offer fresh food, groceries, apparel, general merchandise and other products to customers.

In February this year, retailer JD.com entered an agreement with Rakuten to create drone delivery solutions in Japan.

The agreement allows Rakuten to use JD.com’s drones and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) in its autonomous delivery operations.