Rakuten to buy shopping startup Curbside

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten is to buy Curbside, an app which offers shoppers mobile ordering from brick-and-mortar stores for outside pickup.

Curbside says after the acquisition it will continue to operate as an independent company, with its products, services and team unchanged.

Rakuten’s investment heralds a shared “common vision around connecting consumers to easy, convenient mobile commerce at stores in the communities where they work and live,” said Curbside’s announcement.

The purchase of Curbside is Rakuten’s 36th acquisition in 11 years, but its first for two years.

Curbside, founded in 2013, was an early pioneer of mobile technology that can help brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants provide an additional way to compete with e-commerce companies and food delivery services. They take the in-store pickup concept a step further by delivering purchases to shoppers without them having to get out of their cars.

Website Mobile Marketer says the deal comes at a time that mobile ordering and pick up are gaining steam. But that means the company faces more competition than it did several years ago.

“Having a big corporate parent like Rakuten is likely to provide Curbside with an opportunity to work with a wider group of retailers worldwide. At the same time, the deal suggests that, as mobile ordering and pickup become more popular, the supporting technology is becoming a must-have for digital retail platforms like Rakuten while underscoring the importance of location data for digital marketing services.”

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