Despite its Indian debut happening at a difficult time, Japanese retailer Uniqlo received a warm welcome with around 400 people lining up at its store on its opening day. The store made business worth Rs 2.2 crore within a few days of opening which further inspired it to launch a second store a month later. Undeterred by the challenging environment and recent economic downturn, Uniqlo plans to continue expanding in India by launching new products and services. Its positive reception in India also signals the growing interest of Indian consumers to global brands.
New initiatives for India market
To capture India’s diverse and evolving consumer base, Uniqlo plans to make unlimited investments in the market. It had already established a production office in Bengaluru three years before opening its Delhi store. The brand collaborated with Indian designer Rina Singh to create a kurta collection for customers in India and Southeast Asia. Uniqlo now plans to open its third Indian store on February 29, 2020 in South Delhi. The brand, known for setting up a group of stores in populated areas, plans to focus on Tier II and III cities which will account for 45 per cent of India’s consumption by 2025.
To break into this market, Uniqlo will have to shift to online operations. However, the brand first aims to consolidate its three offline stores before venturing into e-commerce operations. A combination of capital, customer segmentation, experiences and community-building will provide the brand with unique opportunities to own a loyal customer database that will go beyond its two-year honeymoon period.
Acquiring a loyal customer base
As Indian customers constantly demand novelty, brands like Sephora, Jack & Jones and Vero Moda have been regularly opening stores in the country. Brands, that earlier saw success during their launch period are reporting losses as shoppers flock to the next new thing. Therefore, to win, Uniqlo needs to build customer loyalty by focusing on repeat purchases, customer lifetime value and in-store experiences. The brand’s Indian stores offer customised services to customers.
The brand recently also kicked off a community project called ‘Uniqlo in My Hub’ that recruited 15 professionals from the neighborhood to participate in local outreach around the second store launch. The project aimed at showcasing the works of local artists and other talents in the brand’s stores as part of its international Good Neighborhood Guide initiative.