When it comes to shopping, most of us still visit a store to get the clothes we need. Yes, online shopping is trendy these days, but its timescales are not ideal – there are many occasions we need or just want to go out and get something the same day.
Uniqlo is a company that realizes the limited options the consumer has when shopping for clothes, and as such, the company wants to change this with vending machines. This is not a unique idea since several companies are now using vending machines to sell their wares, but it’s a first for clothes shopping.
Hey look, Uniqlo vending machines everywhere
The company wants to make it big in the United States, which is why it plans to have up to 10 of its vending machines across the country in the next two months. The idea is to have these devices situated at shopping malls and airports in New York, Houston, and Oakland, along with other cities.
Here’s the thing, folks, Uniqlo is not new to the U.S. market. The company, based in Japan, decided to launch several clothing stores across the country with the simple plan of selling inexpensive wears. Such schemes did not work since U.S. consumers have a strong recognition for brand, and that’s not something Uniqlo has on offer in the country.
This is the primary reason the company has come up with the business to plan to have vending machines placed in several areas across the States. Despite that, Uniqlo will still operate its brick and mortar stores, but there’s no plan to construct 200 stores by the year 2020.
“The brand penetration in big cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago—where we will open a new store—is good, but not in the suburbs,” according to Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing’s chief executive.
Innovation is needed to keep up with market pressures
At the moment, 44 stores are enough, but there’s always the possibility for more in the future should business fare well.
As for the type of clothes Uniqlo is planning to sell through its vending machines, well, it’s mainly jackets for now.
Uniqlo’s inability to make it big in the United States comes at a time when big retail businesses are closing stores on a regular basis. The latest report claims over 6,000 retail stores have been closed or closing this year. That’s a massive blow the brick and mortar business as consumers swiftly adopt online shopping.
Employees will also be affected, and with companies slowly choosing artificial intelligence over real workers, folks losing their jobs might find it difficult to land new ones.
Furthermore, with Amazon expanding into the brick and mortar market with smart stores that don’t have human workers, well, you get the drift.
Whatever the case, the consumer market is changing rapidly, and Uniqlo, among others, are trying new innovations to keep ahead of the pack.