In short: Uniqlo is so popular because it produces affordable yet high-quality and fashionable clothing. Thanks to its unbeatable in-store experience and global brand ambassadors, Uniqlo has become yet another contender in the global fast fashion retail market.
Did you know that 74% of people in the fashion industry wear UNIQLO? That just goes to show how successful the brand has become. Let’s find out why Uniqlo is so popular.
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Ever since Uniqlo shifted from being cheap and low-quality to being affordable but high-quality, it has grown substantially. But that’s not all. Here are 5 reasons why Uniqlo is so popular:
1. Simplicity and essentiality
The Uniqlo brand was set up to be about the Japanese philosophy of simplicity and essentiality, and this is reflected throughout the brand’s marketing, communications, and operations.
A survey conducted by Uniqlo found that 74% of respondents enjoyed wearing UNIQLO clothing. Some of the responses about Uniqlo include:
- It is functional
- It is high-quality
- It is affordable
- It offers basic items
- Everyone can enjoy wearing it
All of these responses suggest that the wearers aligned with the strengths of our brand and our values. In fact, some fashion enthusiasts answered, “UNIQLO’s clothes are so simple that they can be coordinated with the designer brands we usually wear.”
2. Unbeatable in-store experience
If you have been to one of Uniqlo’s brick-and-mortar stores, you are familiar with the unmistakable wide aisles, bright lights, neatly stacked shelves and beautiful displays.
I was recently in the UNIQLO New York Fifth Avenue store and was blown away by the store size (89,000 square feet), the head-scratching low prices, and the amazing customer service.
Indeed, one of the keys to Uniqlo’s popularity is its focus on the in-store experience. The brand aims to create a comfortable and welcoming shopping experience and takes it to the next level.
Every activity done by each employee in every store in any part of the world is meticulously planned by Uniqlo to provide its customer with the best shopping experience.
This involves hiring, training, and micro-managing every single detail.
For example, employees practice the ways to interact with shoppers every morning, including the standard phrases such as “Hello, my name is (blank), how are you today?”
From the folding technique to the way the store salespeople return cards to customers (Japanese style, with two hands and full eye contact) are recorded and analyzed.
Each Uniqlo store also has many digital screens in-store explaining the practical benefits of its fabrics and apparel. This boosts the overall shopping experience for its customers.
Other fast fashion competitor stores often lack order and customer service, but Uniqlo’s unbeatable in-store experience stands out and contributes to its ever-growing popularity.
3. Branding its innovations
What Uniqlo does differently than other brands is branding its innovations. Basically, Uniqlo is creating a brand within a brand, setting it apart from most price-driven value retailers.
For example, one of Uniqlo’s most popular innovations is HEATTECH. It is a fabric technology that keeps the wearer warm but doesn’t impede the style of whatever else they’re wearing.
Other examples include AIRism and Dry-EX. Both are moisture-wicking fabrics but the former is worn as undergarments while the latter is worn as activewear and sports apparel.
Uniqlo brands its innovations to make them stand out to its customers. Each innovation has a specific purpose so every customer knows what to expect from Uniqlo’s technology.
4. Uniqlo Global Ambassadors
Similar to many global brands, Uniqlo also uses celebrity endorsements to extend the brand’s image and reach out to its target audience. Uniqlo currently has 6 Global Ambassadors:
- Australian world-class pro golfer Adam Scott
- Japanese global tennis medalist Kei Nishikori
- Japanese international snowboarder Ayumu Hirano
- Japanese international wheelchair tennis champion Shingo Kunieda
- Scottish international wheelchair tennis champion Gordon Reid
- Swiss professional tennis champion Roger Federer
For Uniqlo, the most important attributes it looks for in its brand ambassadors are great resilience and strong character to overcome adversity. The partnership typically lasts 5 years.
By having ambassadors promote its clothing worldwide, as well as collaborating on future product lines, the Uniqlo brand connects with the masses and grows its popularity.
5. Although a Japanese brand, Uniqlo does business in English
Tadashi Yanai is a hands-on leader who supports a strong, unique culture that is hard to duplicate. He made a decision, a very rare one in Japan, to conduct all the business in English.
Without question, this has enabled international success. Thanks to this simple decision, Uniqlo is able to move forward with collaborations with designers and global brand campaigns.
By collaborating with global designers, Uniqlo is in turn able to gain faster access to lucrative markets where it has weaker brand awareness, like the US and European markets.
Additionally, Uniqlo has adopted and leveraged social media and digital platforms brilliantly, which in turn fosters closer two-way communication with its international customers.
Thanks to simplicity, unbeatable in-store experience, innovative brands, global ambassadors, and conducting business in English, Uniqlo has become a popular fashion brand.
It is impressive how Uniqlo has managed to transform from a single tailoring shop in Tokyo into a global fashion giant and one of the most impressive brands in the world.