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Uniqlo’s app update expands its mcommerce from China to US

The move positions the Japanese bricks-and-mortar and online retailer to compete with Gap, Joe Fresh, Zara, H&M and others for the ever-growing mobile sales. Uniqlo was already competing for mcommerce space in China.

“Mobile commerce is a major trend in the Chinese market and an important channel for brands such as Uniqlo,” said Kevin Gentle, digital strategy director at Labbrand Brand Innovations at Shanghai. “Figures show that after consumers make their first purchase on mobile, the share of wallet will increase as well.

“Overall, Uniqlo has a strong digital presence in China with established ecommerce, mcommerce, and social media platforms,” he said. “The brand has been on top of current digital trends in the market.”

Labbrand is a leading brand consultancy in China.

Uniqlo could not be reached before press deadline.

Mobile mastery
Uniqlo, which has about 1,300 stores worldwide – with most primarily in Asia – is expanding its presence in Europe and the United States.

Leveraging mcommerce in the U.S. and promoting it on social media, such as Facebook, may help the retailer achieve its goals sooner rather than later.

Mcommerce is more important than ever now that more 36 percent of U.S. consumers own a tablet and 26 percent own a tablet, smartphone and PC – and frequently use the mobile devices to browse and shop (see story).

Uniqlo already has leveraged mcommerce in Asia via Tmall, a Chinese-language version of Amazon that is seeing significant growth in mobile.

“Figures show that during the Nov. 11 ‘Single’s Day’ sale on Tmall, mobile commerce accounted for 20 percent of total transactions,” Mr. Gentle said. “The total value of mcommerce grew to $20.8 billion, over 10 percent of the total ecommerce market.”

Uniqlo app screenshot

Increasing leverage

Uniqlo may have been slow to enter the mcommerce space in the U.S., however now that it is here it may prove to be a strong rival.

The retailer sells mid-priced basics clothes and accessories for men, women and children, with many items in the $20 to $50 range.

Its app features pictures of its clothes, many which come in a rainbow of colors.

The iOS and Android versions of the Uniqlo app are available for free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play, respectively.

The app’s most recent version has a new design interface, which makes it easy to access social networks and other apps.

Uniqlo is offering either a $20 or $5 coupon to consumers who download the app.

“Mcommerce enables Uniqlo to achieve various objectives,” Mr. Gentle said. “For one, it helps Uniqlo to enhance its reach and brand awareness among lower tier cities in China, where there are no physical stores available right now.

“The data collected from the Uniqlo mobile applications could also shed light into where to open future stores,” he said. “It also helps Uniqlo to attract young consumers, as mcommerce’s penetration rate is indeed higher amongst post 90s consumers in China.”

Final Take
Kari Jensen is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York