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Uniqlo digital transformation crucial for it to stay relevant

Uniqlo plans to collaborate with Softbank’s Masayoshi Son in order to transform the company into a more tech friendly one.



uniqlo digital transformation

In order to remain competitive in the current market, Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing has announced it will undergo a digital transformation.

According to Asia Nikkei Review, Uniqlo Chairman and President Tadashi Yanai wants technology to streamline their operations to help them meet the customers’ demands and lessen inventory excess.

The Japanese retailer knows they cannot do it alone so they plan to hire a lot of IT professionals to create efficient and innovative systems. However, it will not be as easy as it seems as the retail industry is not known to attract top talents in the IT field. To solve this, Yanai asked the help of his friend, Masayoshi Son.

Son is Softbank’s chairman and has worked with Yanai before. He is a risk taker who has a penchant for investing in tech companies such as chipmaker ARM, Grab, Nvidia, and Flipkart. In addition, Son revealed he is also interested in Uber or Lyft. When it comes to the digital transition of companies, the Japanese chairman is known to be on top of his game.

Uniqlo Chairman and President Tadashi Yanai.

Yanai is seen talking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo by Narendra Modi via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 2.0)

Meanwhile, customers in Japan did not like Uniqlo’s price adjustments last year and Yanai wants to change that. The plummeting sales have put a dent in Uniqlo’s dream of global dominance. However, in order to do that, they have to overhaul their inventories and only make clothes that the consumers demand.

Uniqlo might just be on the right path in terms of incorporating the digital in their business. Many retailers in the U.S. continue to struggle as the online competition heightens. A number of them have closed shops this year. In order to survive the tough industry, they have to make drastic changes aimed to suit the preference of the customers’ changing shopping habits. Per CNBC, Uniqlo already scaled back its expansion plans in the U.S. because of stiff competition from Gap, H&M, Forever 21 and Amazon.


Masayoshi Son

Uniqlo chairman Tadashi Yanai approached Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son (pictured) for Uniqlo’s digital transformation. (Photo by Nobuyuki Hayashi via Flickr. CC BY 2.0)


The emergence of online shopping as the preferred experience of customers due to its convenience forces U.S. retailers to rethink their business strategies. The decreasing foot traffic in malls has greatly affected the brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers such as Gymboree, Payless, rue 21 and the Limited have blamed Amazon for their misfortunes, as published by MarketWatch.

Additionally, the pressure from President Donald Trump to companies to manufacture their products in America did not help Uniqlo’s cause. Yanai claimed that if push comes to shove, he will have to pull out Uniqlo stores in America. “We would not be able to make really good products [in the U.S.] at costs that are beneficial to customers,” he added in a report from CNN Money.

(Featured image by David Pursehouse via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY 2.0)

Arturo Garcia started out as a political writer for a local newspaper in Peru, before covering big-league sports for national broadsheets. Eventually he began writing about innovative tech and business trends, which let him travel all over North and South America. Currently he is exploring the world of Bitcoin and cannabis, two hot commodities which he believes are poised to change history.