Nowadays, an amazing amount of clothing is produced and sold. This is why retail stores have to do their best to attract customers into their stores and why marketers come up with a bunch of new tricks to make you spend your money. In our previous article, we have already talked about the strategy from business giants like IKEA and Zara. Now is the time to discuss the third biggest clothing seller in the world — the Japanese brand Uniqlo.
Enlighten has analyzed the success story of this Japanese company and found out how to avoid unforeseen purchases.
The company appeared by accident
Lacrossewi / Wikimedia Commons
In 1972, Japanese businessman Tadashi Yanai inherited 20 men’s tailor shops from his father. Maybe, Mr. Tadashi would have remained just the owner of the tailor shops if he hadn’t visited the US and Europe and the stores like the Gap and United Colors of Benetton.
The businessman decided to repeat the success he observed in his own country and founded the Uniqlo brand. But the Japanese were not eager to buy mass-market clothes because they thought that the products were low-quality. So, Yanai invented a very aggressive concept that has almost conquered the entire world.
At the same time, the profit of the company is $17 billion and the brand’s estimated costs are $7 billion. And all of this became possible thanks to the invisible tricks that the Uniqlo brand uses.
They deliberately make clothes that aren’t that special.
Yoshio Tsunoda / AFLO / EAST NEWSUniqlo Russia / Facebook
At first sight, the designs from this brand seem a bit too simple and even boring, but this is actually another marketing move. Uniqlo makes non-trendy clothes on purpose and they are proud of it. Unlike Zara, for example, that copies trendy clothes from the runway, the Japanese company promotes clothing “for everyone.”
The shelves in their stores are filled with exactly the same clothes, they don’t have prints of “cool” pictures on their T-shirts. But this strategy brings the Uniqlo company a considerable profit: it attracts people who don’t understand anything about modern fashion tendencies and don’t like spending hours in stores.
The brand is able to use the interests of the people who are too shy to look different from others. The Japanese clothes look identical on runways and in real life and in order to buy them, you don’t need an image consultant.
They rely on cheaper products in order to make their customers feel as if they are saving money
Baggy`s / Flickr
The brand decided to fight against the competitors with their low prices: 35% of the products at Uniqlo are sold for less than $10. By today’s standards that’s not just cheap — it’s almost free. When customers look at the shelves that are full of relatively cheap clothing, they really want to buy a lot more things. Separately, these clothes don’t cost a lot, so we keep putting more and more things in our shopping baskets.
Customers feel like all the other products are cheaper in the store. But this is not true: tops, pants, and sweaters cost pretty much the same money as their competitors.
They sell the same clothes all year round in order to keep their customers.
For a brand that could easily get the title of the biggest clothing retailer in the world, Uniqlo has a relatively small assortment of clothes. This is because of economic reasons: Uniqlo, unlike H&M or Zara, can’t afford to produce several different collections every year. However, the customers that are used to having variety, can easily go to the competitors. So, here are the things the Japanese company did:
- They create the illusion of a wide choice. All the clothes from the brand are produced in dozens of color variations. For example, they make polo shirts in 80 different colors.
- In summer, they sell winter clothes, and vice versa in winter. This approach attracts more practical customers that prefer to prepare for a different season in advance.
- They rarely work with famous designers, so they avoid fashion fails. The things that look cool on the runway and get hundreds of thousands of likes on Instagram are usually not popular among regular people. Uniqlo doesn’t take risks — they just create a collection of simple clothing that will definitely sell.
In their stores, it is almost impossible to find shoes, and there is a reason why.
Uniqlo almost never sells shoes and boots, they rely on underwear, socks, and knitwear. And it’s not because nobody will buy the shoes. It’s just that customers often need little things: like shirts, underwear, and clothes for home. And shoes are not something that is purchased very often.
The Japanese rely on the clothes that, according to their personal hygiene rules, have to be changed regularly (the alternative is to have a lot of them). However, there is a huge chance that if you go into the store to get something small, you will also end up buying something bigger.
They offer technology instead of fashion to make their customers feel smart.
The brand’s target audience is people between the age of 18 and 40 which are called millennials. These men and women buy new cell phones every year, they keep track of new technologies, but they prefer a simple style when it comes to clothing and their everyday lives.
No other brand was producing affordable clothing specifically for millennials. Uniqlo is partially clothes for geeks: because even for the simplest clothing, they use innovative technologies. Instead of wasting money on an army of designers, the brand hires scientists that develop ultra-light, thin, or warm fabrics.
The brand relies on intelligent customers and makes money thanks to the people who want to be different from the “trendy masses.” This is another well-thought-out marketing strategy and it’s different from any other strategy we’ve heard of before.