UNIQLO Case Study
Movable Type Connects UNIQLO Headquarters with over 700 Local Stores Worldwide
A network of internal blogs allows UNIQLO to collect real-time feedback from its local stores. With mobile phone posting, UNIQLO can tap into the intelligence of its large number of part-time employees who have no computer access.
Business Challenge: Deploy an easy-to-use system to collect real-time feedback from local stores, including part-time employees with no computer access.
Results: Movable Type has:
- Connected over 700 local stores worldwide
- Created and easy-to-use system to collect feedbacks
- Allowed part-time employees to participate and post via their mobile phones
For more information, visit: UNIQLO
UNIQLO is among the top 10 specialty apparel retailers in the world, and is often described as the "Gap" of Japan -- designing, manufacturing and selling trendy clothing for men, women, and children since 1963. UNIQLO is Japan's leading clothing retail chain in terms of both sales and profits and operates over 700 stores in Japan alone. Over the past five years, UNIQLO has expanded internationally and has opened stores in the U.S., United Kingdom, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. This expansion was marked in November 2006 with the opening of UNIQLO's global flagship store in SoHo, New York.
"Because Movable Type blogs are easy to grasp and allow posting via mobile phones, we are able, for the first-time, to collect timely and critical feedback from our in-store employees, including part-time workers." - Mr. Mori, Fast Retailing, UNIQLO's parent company
Collecting real time information and feedback from local stores is mission critical for the business units at UNIQLO's headquarters. However, gathering feedback from hundreds of stores across the globe is a challenge. Each store has only two computers linked to headquarters, but these are mainly used for office work and are not accessible to most floor staff, a large portion of whom are made up of part-time employees. Until recently, UNIQLO's primary method of collecting feedback was twice yearly conventions held for over 700 store managers. The drawbacks of the conventions were their low frequency and the absence of a majority of the floor staff.
In March 2006, UNIQLO unveiled a new blog content management system built on the Movable Type platform. A network of blogs now connects over 700 stores to UNIQLO's headquarters and allows all floor staff to communicate real-time customer feedback. Importantly, the Movable Type blogs allow staff members to access and comment on the blogs via their mobile phones, dramatically increasing participation.
"We were aware the system we selected would only be useful if our entire staff, including part-time employees, could easily use it."
The primary reason UNIQLO selected the Movable Type platform was for its ease of use. "We were aware the system we selected would only be useful if our entire staff, including part-time employees, could easily use it", said Mr. Mori, of Fast Retailing, UNIQLO's parent company. "Because Movable Type blogs are easy to grasp compared to other tools and allow postings via mobile phones, we are able, for the first time, to collect timely and critical feedback from all our in-store employees, including part-time workers." The first implementation of Movable Type produced inconsistent results. Business information that should have been input via alternate business processes was inadvertently submitted via the blogs. To address this issue, UNIQLO adjusted the blog formats and posed relevant questions in the form of posts. All employees were allowed and encouraged to respond through the comment feature. This minor change allowed UNIQLO to streamline the information collected from the blogs.
Timely, Effective Feedback
Before the Movable Type deployment, headquarters would design and print out newspaper advertising inserts with no ability to collect feedback on the inserts from the local stores. Today, drafts of the inserts are posted to the blog. Headquarters collects feedback in near real-time from the local stores and adjustments can be made based on this collective intelligence. The result is a more effective insert with little delay in the process.
UNIQLO significantly customized their Movable Type installation. The internal weblog network interface looks more like their brand. In addition, UNIQLO also added a unique comment status feature. When suggestions are posted from the local stores, a customized "Follow Up" area allows headquarters to indicate whether action will be taken on the suggestion. "With most bulletin boards, users submit their opinions but there is no follow-up," said Mori. "We created this additional feature to show the status of each suggestion."
The Bottom Line
The UNIQLO headquarters can now easily gather feedback from over 700 local store managers, allowing he, to understand the needs of their customers and employees.