Japan’s convenience stores are famous for offering a vast array of services. True to their name, they are convenient spots for consumers to pay their utility bills, ship packages, drop off their dry cleaning and even send their luggage to the airport. Now they are a place where online shoppers can pick up their new clothes.
Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo chain said Thursday that it is launching a service Feb. 16 that allows consumers to place orders through Uniqlo’s website and pick up their merchandice at 7-Eleven stores so they don’t have to wait at home for deliveries. To start with, the service will be available at about 5,700 7–Eleven stores in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitma and Chiba prefectures before it is rolled out to stores elsewhere in Japan.
Similarly, online shoppers can pick up clothing designed by Jean Paul Gaultier at their local 7-Eleven in Japan. Gaultier linked up with Seven and i Holdings, the corporate parent of 7-Eleven, to design a capsule collection for the company for the fall 2015 and spring 2016 seasons. The line is sold at Seven & i’s department store chains Sogo, Seibu and Ito Yokado, but digitally-savvy shoppers can also order it through a new portal and pick it up at branches of the convenience store.
The omnichannel move is the latest twist in Fast Retailing’s expansion strategy. The company’s chairman, president and chief executive officer Tadashi Yanai has said he is aiming to make Fast Retailing the world’s largest apparel retailer by 2020. While Fast Retailing is putting a big emphasis on opening stores internationally, Japan is still its largest market. Uniqlo currently counts 805 stores in Japan.
E-commerce has been slow to take off in Japan compared to other markets but consumers are increasingly turning to the internet to shop in a competitive retail landscape.