As the e-commerce market continues to grow, customers are becoming more reluctant to leave the house to go on shopping sprees. It is now ever more important that brands stay connected to their communities, play a part in their consumers’ lives, streamline their business models and continue to adapt in real-time.
In order to draw customers to their brick-and-mortar shops, retailers now need to think beyond opening a store that simply provides transactional value. Through product education, discovery experiences, and incentives such as exclusive products and pre-launches, retailers could bring about a propitious change that ushers in a new era of physical retail.
Here are just five brands that are redefining the physical retail experience in Tokyo.
1. Uniqlo Harajuku
UNIQLO recently opened a new store in Harajuku that adopts an innovative approach to the shopping experience by integrating digital features that attracts customers to visit the store while also taking preventative measures against COVID-19. On the ground floor, a massive wall of 240 interactive touch screens running UNIQLO’s own style-finding app “StyleHint” allows customers to find their clothing preferences, check for similar products and find the exact location of specific items in the store. A Spotify booth that features UNIQLO’s original playlist and a recycling corner for customers to donate second-hand clothing to refugees are a few unique services available at the store. Along with clothing, the store also sells other products including notebooks, plates, books and magazines. The Harajuku store focuses not only on selling products but also promoting the culture, fashion, and philosophy of UNIQLO.
2. Lululemon Harajuku
Opened in 2019, Lululemon Harajuku is the first experiential store for the Canadian athletic apparel retailer in Japan. With industrial furnishings including furniture made from recycled wood from Vancouver to evoke a West Coast vibe reminiscent of the brand’s hometown, the store includes a first-of-its-kind Lululemon VR meditation machine, a bar counter and a community board with local fitness information. On the second floor, visitors can take yoga lessons with Lululemon ambassador Juri Ko Edwards in the “IGNITE YOGA STUDIO”. For an additional fee, yogi can also put their skills to the test with a yoga assessment. In addition to selling the brand’s representative activewear for yoga and running, the store also has an expanded collection of athletica to support all forms of exercise, from cycling to marine sports.
3. Lush Harajuku
LUSH Harajuku is the first ever LUSH store that is dedicated solely to bath bombs. Located in Harajuku, the store design stands out from those of traditional stores with its white interior and special display of a bath bomb conveyor belt. With no sinks, product descriptions nor in-store demonstrations, customers use the LUSH app “LUSH Labs” to experience the products. The app displays details of each product, along with videos showing the bath bombs melting. It also features AR content and 3D virtual reality functions. This new approach aims to boost domestic sales of bath bombs – LUSH’s signature items – and to increase the appeal of offline shopping. “As the e-commerce market expands, we are thinking about how we should integrate digital with physical stores to secure competitiveness,” Yayoi Kobayashi, Director of Brand Retail for Lush Japan, said. “We also needed to take on the challenge of changing existing styles to see how our technology-based shopping styles are pervading our customers.”
4. Nike Kicks Lounge Omotensando
After opening its flagship Nike Kicks Lounge in Shanghai, China in 2013, Nike unveiled the latest iteration of its Nike Kicks Lounge in Omotesando in the Japanese capital in 2017. Located in the center of Tokyo’s street culture, Nike Kicks Lounge Omotesando is a destination for design-savvy customers looking for a personal styling experience. Showcasing a style-led and curated approach that purposely blurs the line to encourage consumers to express themselves, the store features an ever-changing curation of the best footwear and apparel from Nike Sportswear, Nike Running, Nike Basketball, Nike SB and Jordan Brand, carefully chosen by the store team of individuals well-versed in Tokyo’s cultures and communities. The store also offers special services such as garment tailoring and tees, hoodies and sport bras customization. Visitors can also choose from more than 30 options for custom printing, from Nike original designs to special logos created by artists involved in the creation of the store.
5. Familiar Daikanyama Flagship Store
Baby clothes store FAMILIAR’s flagship store in Daikanyama focuses on the first 1,000 days of having a baby, taking the store’s online campaign offline by creating an in-shop experience. Centering the store around the concept of “touch”, FAMILIAR invites new parents to frequent the shop, empowering them to learn and feel more deeply connected with the brand. A variety of lessons and activities help new parents learn all aspects of caring for their babies, from practical exercises involving life-sized baby dolls teaching parents how to bathe a baby and change diapers to styling workshops where parents can choose clothes and dress their new baby, with staff providing personalized clothing recommendations based on the baby’s arrival date and their families’ lifestyle and preferences. Lessons are also held in the evening to accommodate working parents. Other features include two spacious nursing rooms and two families rooms for breastfeeding babies and changing diapers, a dining area with a microwave, and custom photo shoots.
Online FabMeetup: The Future of Retail
Learn more about the future of retail with industry leaders such as Roco Wong, Regional Store Development & Visual Merchandising Director – APAC, L’Occitane and Tina Lo, SVP of Global Business Development, Pinkoi at FabCafe Hong Kong’s FabMeetup on July 16th. This event is also available online, RSVP here.
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