How a Japanese clothing brand got men to love shopping

Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo has plans to take over America.

To accomplish this goal, the brand, which has 1,500 stores around the world, is going to great lengths to attract male shoppers.

Apparel retailers have traditionally gone after women, who tend to shop more often and seek out trendy designs.

“We take the men’s business not as a secondary business, but a primary one,” Steven Sare, chief merchandising officer, told Business Insider.

While the brand is already the biggest apparel chain in Asia, executives are currently going after the Western market and have opened nearly 40 stores in America. That number could eventually expand to 1,000.

Sare said that half of Uniqlo’s customers are men, while its specialty retail competitors tend to have more female customers.

Here are a few reasons why men love shopping at Uniqlo.

Not trendy

Uniqlo started in Hiroshima, Japan in the mid-1980s as a unisex clothing company. As a result, many of its designs are simple and classic.

Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo’s founder, reportedly studied and emulated Gap’s business model. But while the American retailer has tried to market trendy clothing as of late, Uniqlo stuck to the basics.

“The clothes are fairly basic and you don’t have to be a fashionista to figure out how to wear them,” Laura Gurski, a partner of the Retail Practice at consultancy A.T. Kearney, told Business Insider. “Men like this because they can mix and match fairly easily, and don’t have to think too hard about it.”

Uniqlo offers the same men’s shirts in dozens of different colors to simplify the process for men, Sare said.

“Men can find a work shirt that fits, buy it in a couple of different colors, buy some jeans, and be done,” he said.

He said that male shoppers tend to come in less frequently than women, but spend more money per trip.

Business Insider technology editor Steve Kovach said the simplicity of the store has made him a loyal Uniqlo customer.

“I know my size, and can blast through the store in 15 minutes and get the same shirt in just about every pattern,” Kovach said.


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