Retention Marketing refers to marketing programs that are aimed at increasing engagement, brand support, and loyalty to one company or product. According to the data from 360connext, on average, a business loses about 20% of its customers just by failing to tend to customer relationships. This can be as high as 80%.
Uniqlo is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer. In the last 14 years the company has expanded to over 12 countries worldwide. By adopting and refining an SPA model for business (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel), Uniqlo quickly adjusts production to reflect the latest sales trends and to reduce operating costs. Uniqlo only sells around 1000 items at a time, far fewer than the competitors GAP, Zara and H&M.
Uniqlo’s retention strategy is to dive into customer’s daily routines and ensure constant engagement. To achieve this, Uniqlo’s branding strategy is to be felt ‘local’ everywhere. It has 13 country specific websites, and the local teams clearly have latitude, in terms of website design (see image above). Although, if you are an existing customer, the experience is different as the navigation is quicker and product-focused – but then, you will also be given a brief look into their CSR, community and social media activities. Signing up for the newsletter option is right in the center of the homepage, and the incentive for the same is a genius from the marketing team- “Get exclusive deals in stores instantly just by showing the confirmation email via your mobile phone.” Uniqlo’s customer retention strategy is two-way engagement with the customer, making him feel unique. “Uniqlo Dry Mesh Project” was meant to give samples of latest technology integration with Uniqlo clothing in an animated manner in Pinterest, which will keep the user visually arrested to the sticky site. Uniqlo also launched a new CSR initiative called “Clothes for Smiles” with professional tennis player Novak Djokovic and UNICEF to raise funds and to increase awareness of the brand. Uniqlo ensures this connection with the customers by employing attention catching creativity in traditional social media channels. In a world, where word of mouth marketing is at its best, Uniqlo has evangelists among its loyal users to spread the word about its new flagship store in San Francisco (“Play lucky cube with Maru” project). Further, Uniqlo tries to be a part of its user’s everyday life, even at realms, which are not directly connected as per the sales perspective. The wake up social app – creates a song that contains current time, weather and day of the week – and Pimkie Color Forecast – footage from high speed digital cameras in key locations of the city is collected and filtered in real-time through a color tracking software that generates infographics detailing which colors are trending where – are digital tactics along these strategic lines. Pimkie Forecast is inspirational and ensures constant user attachment to the brand. When the e-commerce site was down in UK, Uniqlo came up with ‘Lucky Counter’ campaign – a Twitter game to lower the price of items based on tweets. This was a perfect strike at retention and reputation management, at once, converting lemon to lemonades. Uniqlo tries hard to retain the customers, even if it is a narrowly focused market; for instance the middle-market, middle-aged customers, who shop for low prices, laid-back styles and easy access. ‘Heattech‘ line of winter-wear, which are incredibly functional, but not particularly stylish, got sold out despite a production run of an unprecedented 28 million pieces.
To conclude, Uniqlo ties innovation with creativity and technology at every step. Further, it also understands that engagement is the key to retention, and the traditional channels of engagement should give way for developing a creative blend of consumer’s social life and everyday mundane routines to the persona of the company – ‘stay stylish’!