Many retailers regard their online stores as just an additional channel to reach more shoppers. MUJI sees them in a different way.
By collecting responses from customers through the internet, the Japanese household and consumer goods retailer can come up with products shoppers really want.
For example, people can vote for their favorite items among the winners of MUJI Award 04 held in Shanghai, on the company’s Tmall shop. MUJI will then mass produce the most popular items, Sina Technology reports.
In another project set to start next month, MUJI will dig into the big data provided by Tmall, see which product categories are the hottest, then design, mass produce and launch them in the market quickly. Say, if many people search for a coffee mug, MUJI will try to come up with the best coffee mug it can think of.
Using the internet to find out what customers want is not new. The method has been used widely in media and movie business.
US-based streaming video platform Netflix has used enormous amounts of data to find out more about audience preferences. As a result of this research, the group invited Oscar best actor Kevin Spacey and director David Fincher to produce the TV series House of Cards. The show has gained huge success both in the United States and China.
But many retailers are not there yet. Zara, UNIQLO and GAP have all opened their Tmall shops, but they function only as shopping websites.
MUJI has 105 outlets across 34 cities in China, mainly in top-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The group wants to expand, but not every city is worth a brick and mortar outlet.
The interactive business model of its Tmall platform will grow in importance when MUJI looks to unlock the market potential in lower-tier cities.
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