Category Archives: Retail

Why Uniqlo Will Take Over the World

3036745-poster-p-2-jj-uniqlo-hires-wk-superstarMajor fashion retailers have had a rough time recently and their troubles have been well documented. Earlier this year Next reported disappointing results. BHS is in deep, deep trouble, threatening to close 52 of its stores. Even John Lewis has a tough time recently.

However, one fashion retailer that’s going from strength to strength is the Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo. I’m a big fan. With over 1 500 stores worldwide and the business continuing to expand, I’m clearly not the only one. So why is it so successful?

1 The Marriage of Style with Technology

Uniqlo’s products look great and many of them are super functional. Plus they organise them into a series of sub-brands that make it really easy to understand and navigate your way through the ranges. For example HEATTECH, created in collaboration with a materials science company turns moisture into heat and the fabric traps air which heats-up and protects you from the cold. The AIRism range does the opposite. It lets your skin breathe and keeps you cool.

images

2 The Clarity of the Offer

Uniqlo occupies the space in the market vacated by Gap (whatever happened to Gap?) – everyday, utilitarian staples, which appeals to a wide breadth of audiences. They ignore fashion trends, choosing not to imitate the latest catwalk offerings. Instead they focus on creating a huge range of bold colours to offer variety and choice

UNIQLO

3 Incredible Value

Because of its simple, consistent ranges and the scale of its business, Uniqlo is able to order huge quantities and negotiate great deals with it suppliers. As a result, its garments are made with high quality fabrics and sold at really affordable prices.

4 In Store Discipline

There is a strong emphasis on staff training to ensure everyone understands the company culture. Store staff have to learn a set series of ‘behaviours’ which translate into a series of phrases that define what they believe to be great customer service. This discipline enables them to maintain high standards and a consistency throughout the world

img_main

The brand is very ambitious and is driven forward by it’s charismatic owner Tadashi Yanai who’s created a thriving business culture and developed a winning offer which really stands out from the crowd.

I’ve no doubt that the brand will continue to thrive and will dominate fashion retailing.

Aldi and Lidl – Making Us Feel Good About Buying Cheap Groceries

UK Grocery retailing is going through an amazing period of change. Tesco is in deep, deep trouble and most people seem to be revelling in their discomfort. However, things aren’t so rosy with Sainsburys at the moment either so nobody can afford to be too cocky.

The real winners have been Aldi and Lidl. I’ve been so impressed with the way both brands have adopted different, but really persuasive ways of demonstrating their value for money. Here’s an example from the Aldi Campaign. Simple, quirky and intelligent.

However, I also love the way Lidl have dramatised their quality and value message through their recent campaign, by challenging our pre-conceptions about their fresh produce.


Aldi and Lidl are ‘proper’ brands now, not just Discounters and deserve to be taken seriously. Will their growth continue? How will the ‘Big 4’ respond? It will fascinating to see how it all plays out over the next couple of years.