FAQ Merchant Quality Score

Frequently asked questions & answers 

As of 03.06.2020

The Merchant Quality Score is a rating system that reflects the quality of merchants on Rakuten. It is based on 4 criteria and is calculated monthly. Each criterion is weighted separately according to its impact on customer satisfaction. The following chart illustrates how the criteria are weighted:

The score is calculated on the basis of the following four service-quality criteria. This is the same for all merchants on Rakuten:

  • Customer enquiry rate
  • Cancellation rate
  • Late shipment rate
  • Return rate

What is the "customer enquiry rate"?

The customer enquiry rate reflects the percentage of a merchant's orders for which a customer enquiry was submitted to our Customer Service department. However, we only consider the cancellations actioned by the merchant. Only one customer enquiry per order is counted, even if multiple customer enquiries were submitted for a single order.

For example: If a merchant has 100 orders and 7 customer enquiries, the customer enquiry rate is 7%.

b) What is the "cancellation rate"?

The cancellation rate reveals the percentage of a merchant's orders that were cancelled. We only count the cancellations that were made by the merchant.

For example: From 100 orders, 5 were cancelled and the merchant was responsible for 2 of the 5 cancelled orders (e.g. items were not available). The merchant's cancellation rate is therefore 2%.

c) What is the "late shipment rate"?

The late shipment rate reflects the percentage of a merchant's orders that were not shipped on time and are therefore counted as late shipments. Shipping delays are counted in working days (weekends and public holidays are not included).

For example: If 12 from 100 orders were shipped late, the late shipment rate is 12%.

d) What is the "return rate"?

The return rate is the percentage of a merchant's orders that were returned. We take into account the fact that certain product categories have higher return rates than others. To ensure that this is reflected in a merchant's individual return rate, we compare those returns for the relevant period with the average return rate in main product category for those items.

For example:

If you have a return rate of 10% but the average return rate on the Rakuten marketplace for that same product category is 13%, your return rate lies 3 percentage points below the average, i.e. your return rate is better than the average.

But if your return rate is 20% and the average return rate on the Rakuten marketplace is 13%, your return rate is 7 percentage points higher than the average, i.e. your return rate is poor.

You should always strive to keep your rates as low as possible. The lower the percentage for a specific criterion, the better the merchant's performance and the more points awarded for that criterion. A rate of less than 5% for all 4 criteria indicates good performance.

The Merchant Quality Score is based on the four criteria mentioned above: customer enquiry rate, cancellation rate, late shipment rate, return rate. We award performance-based points for each criterion.

Each criterion is weighted separately according to its importance and this weighting is the same for all Rakuten merchants. 

The lower the percentage for a specific criterion (e.g. cancellation rate), the better the score for that criterion. You can view your score for each criterion at the Merchant Backend.

A low score in any one of the criteria could lower the overall Merchant Quality Score. As a result, the merchant may not meet Rakuten's quality standards.

A Merchant Quality Score of less than 4.5 is considered low and means that the merchant is not meeting Rakuten's quality standards. Merchants should maintain a Merchant Quality Score of at least 4.5 to ensure that their merchant account is not negatively affected. Please note:

We recommend that merchants work to continuously improve their Merchant Quality Score. This will ensure that they avoid negative classification. We recommend merchants with a low score take all necessary steps to improve their Merchant Quality Score. There are plans to introduce a rating system based on the Merchant Quality Score.

During the launch phase this merchant account rating will not impact you negatively. You should, however, always ensure that your Merchant Quality Score is high enough to meet Rakuten's quality standards.

We automatically send email notifications to all merchants with a low score if we believe they are likely to receive a poor score for the coming month.

The Merchant Quality Score is always based on a merchant's performance in the previous month. It is updated on the 16th of every month when the scores for the previous month are released.

The results for the four quality criteria are updated daily. These results are a good indication of what your Merchant Quality Score will be. Please note: The higher the percentage for each criterion, the lower the overall MQS will be.

You can improve your score by taking steps to increase your quality of service:

Customer enquiry rate: Prevent customer enquiries by providing detailed and accurate product descriptions, shipping orders within the specified shipping time and supplying tracking numbers.

Cancellation rate: Keep inventory up to date and ensure that your prices are correct. Once an order is received, try to avoid cancelling it.

Late shipment rate: Before listing a product on the online marketplace, you should make sure that you are able adhere to the specified shipping time. Please ensure you update the order status to "shipped" in the system as soon as an order is on its way to the customer.

Return rate: To prevent returns it is important that the product the customer receives meets their expectations. Therefore, please ensure you include all the necessary details in your product images and descriptions and that the product is packaged properly for transport.

We want to improve our customers' shopping experience on the Rakuten marketplace. This is only possible if merchants reach and maintain a certain level of service quality.

This function is not available during Merchant Quality Score launch phase. We are continuously working to optimise the Merchant Quality Score and we will provide more functions in the Merchant Backend in the future.

The results for the individual criteria are updated daily. The Merchant Quality Score for the previous month is released on the 16th each month.

To calculate the Merchant Quality Score, we only consider actions taken by the merchant.