eBay vs Rakuten: Holiday Shopping Analysis

Dec 21, 2023 | Blog

Holiday Shopping on eBay and Rakuten: What’s different in 2023?

In the evolving landscape of holiday shopping, 2023 marks a distinctive trend as US consumers are extending their spending across multiple months in pursuit of optimal deals, as reported by McKinsey. To gauge the quality of customer experiences during this extended shopping season, we turn our attention to two e-commerce giants, eBay and Rakuten, in this blog post.

Last week, we presented an insightful comparison between Amazon and Etsy, exploring nuances in customer sentiments through our generative AI-powered Insight Miner feature. Building upon our recent analysis, we delve deeper into the customer reviews of eBay and Rakuten. A month ago, we took a snapshot in our analysis of Online Marketplaces. Ebay ranked 6th out of 85 with an oCX score of 62.  In the same report, Rakuten to our surprise ranked 49th with an oCX score of -20.

This analysis aims to uncover unique insights within the vast datasets, shedding light on specific aspects such as the customer experience with eBay and Rakuten during the ongoing holiday shopping season. As we continue our exploration of the e-commerce landscape, let’s delve into the intricacies of eBay and Rakuten to understand the customer feedback and prevailing trends in their respective platforms.


Founded in 1995, eBay is a global e-commerce platform renowned for its unique auction-style listings. Over the years, it has evolved into a comprehensive marketplace, offering a wide array of products through both auction and fixed-price formats. eBay is recognized for its user-friendly interface, extensive product variety, and fostering a large community of buyers and sellers.

Pros of eBay:


Optimized Shopping Experience and User-Friendly Platform:

eBay has consistently garnered acclaim for providing users with an optimized shopping experience characterized by seamless navigation and a user-friendly platform. Users express admiration for the platform’s commitment to enhancing the overall shopping journey, noting the intuitive interface, easy navigation tools, and a positive atmosphere that collectively contribute to a delightful online shopping experience. eBay’s dedication to user satisfaction is evident in these clusters, reflecting its ongoing efforts to prioritize accessibility, ease of use, and an enjoyable interface for its diverse user base.

Seller Community Engagement and Support:

One notable aspect that sets eBay apart is its strong focus on fostering a sense of community and robust support for sellers. Within this positive cluster, users highlight their satisfaction with eBay’s seller community engagement and support mechanisms. eBay’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for sellers becomes evident as users praise the platform for its community-building initiatives, responsive support channels, and the overall sense of camaraderie among sellers.

Cons of eBay:


Seller Policies and Customer Service:

The cluster addressing seller policies and customer service unveils areas of dissatisfaction among users with aspects of eBay’s operational framework. Users express concerns and frustrations related to seller policies, signaling a call for refinement in eBay’s approach to policy implementation. Additionally, criticisms about customer service highlight an opportunity for eBay to enhance its support mechanisms, ensuring that sellers’ concerns are promptly and effectively addressed.

App Updates and Functionality Concerns:

Within the realm of app updates and functionality concerns, users articulate their frustrations with recent changes, signaling areas where eBay can enhance its mobile application. Expressions of frustration underscore the importance of addressing concerns related to app functionality, ensuring a seamless and efficient user experience. The feedback from users emphasizes the need for eBay to not only address existing concerns but also to prioritize ongoing improvements, ensuring that app updates contribute positively to the overall usability and satisfaction of users.


Established in 1997, Rakuten is a leading Japanese e-commerce company that has expanded its services beyond online retail. Known for its innovative approach, Rakuten introduced a cashback feature, allowing users to earn rewards while shopping. The platform has evolved into a diverse ecosystem, offering services in finance, digital content, and communications. Rakuten is recognized for its customer-centric approach and commitment to providing a rewarding online shopping experience.

Pros of Rakuten:


Innovative Cashback Rewards and Intuitive Interface:

Rakuten stands out for its innovative approach to cashback rewards, earning widespread user appreciation. This cluster emphasizes Rakuten’s operational excellence, particularly in the unique realm of cashback incentives. Users express gratitude for the intuitive interface that seamlessly integrates the cashback mechanism, highlighting Rakuten’s commitment to delivering a rewarding and user-friendly platform.

Feature-Rich App and Seamless User Interaction:

Within user sentiments, a distinct cluster surfaces, focusing on user commendations for specific app features and the overall app performance. This cluster serves as a testament to Rakuten’s dedication to technological excellence and customer satisfaction through a feature-rich app. Users within this category spotlight unique features that significantly enhance their overall app experience.

Cons of Rakuten:


Visual Identity and Functional Enhancements:

Users within this cluster signal a need for improvements in the visual elements of the app, emphasizing the importance of a cohesive and appealing visual identity. Additionally, concerns related to app functionality highlight the significance of ongoing enhancements to ensure a seamless and efficient user experience.

Cashback Issues and Customer Support:

Unveiling a cluster focused on cashback issues and customer support, users express frustration over challenges related to the cashback mechanism and the support processes in place. This feedback serves as a valuable indication of areas where Rakuten can enhance its support mechanisms and cashback processes. Improving customer support responsiveness and addressing cashback-related concerns are pivotal steps for Rakuten to fortify user satisfaction.


Our analysis reveals eBay’s global appeal, lauded for its user-friendly interface and unique auction-style listings, creating positive shopping experiences. In contrast, Rakuten demonstrates innovation, presenting a diverse ecosystem spanning finance, digital content, and communication services.

Distinct clusters in customer feedback, covering positive app experiences to concerns about seller policies, showcase the nuanced nature of reviews for both eBay and Rakuten. The integration of generative AI underscores technology’s swift distillation of insights from extensive feedback.

As these platforms evolve in e-commerce, adapting to customer expressions is pivotal for sustaining and enhancing user experiences. The synthesis of customer sentiments remains crucial in navigating the dynamic landscape of online retail.

Whether you’re a seasoned online shopper or venturing into your first e-commerce holiday season, may these insights serve as a valuable guide for optimizing your experiences on both eBay and Rakuten.

For any inquiries regarding this analysis, feel free to reach out to us here. Happy shopping!

Related Resources

Etsy vs Amazon: An Analysis of Holiday Shopping 2023


Dive into the ultimate guide for your holiday shopping adventure! Discover the game-changing trends in consumer spending, unravel the mysteries behind Amazon’s global dominance, and explore Etsy’s unique charm in supporting small businesses.

Introducing oCX, the New, AI-Generated CX Metric


  • oCX, or “Observational Experience,” is a unique metric that assesses the quality of a company’s customer experience without relying on traditional surveys.
  • This metric is powered by AI technology that analyzes individual customer opinions expressed in unsolicited text comments on social media, review sites, and other online platforms.
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