Retail analyst Edited has put together a break down of Uniqlo’s strategy for success. According to Edited’s findings, Uniqlo is the world’s third largest retailer, behind only Zara and H&M. And Uniqlo doesn’t fit into the typical fast fashion models as Zara and H&M do. Rather, Uniqlo focuses on sustainability and moderate product offerings.
The retailer is valued at 7 billion dollars and has ambitious expansion plans ahead, such as a plan to double its number of stores in South East Asia and Oceania in the next four years. Uniqlo currently has about 180 stores in the region. The retailer is also in the process of opening four new store locations in Canada this season.
Uniqlo’s emphasis on low-cost, everyday styles might make the retailer easily confused with a fast fashion chain, but it in fact operates very differently from retailers like Zara and H&M. Unlike a fast fashion brand, Uniqlo delivers large orders in consistent manufacturing batches to achieve maximum value. Its focus on well-made basics and values rather than quick trends keeps the retailer unique. According to Edited’s findings, these principles contribute to the retailer’s success.
In its research, Edited sought to understand Uniqlo’s strategy better, and broke this strategy down into a few key elements: technology, inclusivity, price points, moderate selections and sustainability.
Tadashi Yanai, chief executive officer of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, has called Uniqlo a “digital consumer retail company” rather than an apparel company. Uniqlo has invented signature technological fabrics, such as HeatTech to keep a wearer warm and Airism to help a wearer cool down. These tech fabrics help to further Uniqlo’s mission of quality basic items.
Uniqlo’s slogan, “Made for All,” is clearly represented in its consumer base. The retailer’s shoppers come from all demographics, income levels and age ranges. Edited credits this to the simplicity of Uniqlo’s product offerings—it shows few patterns and trend—as well as the inclusivity of its size range.
Targeted price point
Edited determined that 35 percent of Uniqlo’s offerings fall into the under 10 dollar price range, and 7 percent is priced over 50 dollars. This allows almost 25 percent of Uniqlo’s products to fall between 10 and 40 dollars, emphasizing both quality and affordability.
Uniqlo has decreased its assortment by 4.4 percent in the last 12 months, showing that it looks at product design very thoughtfully. By comparison, Zara expanded its assortment by 4 percent in the last 12 months, and H&M expanded by just over 50 percent. Uniqlo offers a careful selection of seasonless, essential products so as to not overwhelm consumers with trends and instead focus on meeting their needs.
Today’s shoppers make purchasing decisions based on whether a brand meets their values, so Uniqlo’s concern for sustainability resonates with its consumer base and works to secure a long term brand-consumer relationship.
Photo: Uniqlo Facebook