Last Friday, UNIQLO opened the doors to its three story flagship store across from Water Tower Place. The store is the Japanese retailer’s second largest in the U.S., occupies approximately 60,000 square feet, has an escalator that takes over a minute to ride up, around 400 employees, and a full Starbucks.
A store of such magnitude needs marketing to match, so for the weeks leading up to the store opening, UNIQLO did CTA train takeovers featuring dancers, DJs, and enough prizes like Fuji-film instant cameras, IMAX movie tickets, Chicago Bulls tickets, and a trip to Tokyo.
“The train takeovers were like one big party,” said Erica Franklin, a UNIQLO promoter and brand ambassador. “My favorite moment leading up to the store launch was when one woman won the trip to Tokyo, she was so happy she cried. The fact that I get to work with such a cool company that does stuff like this is amazing.”
Train takeovers were just the tip of the iceberg though. On Friday and Saturday, outside the historical water tower was bustling with crowds of people, Japanese drummers, a freestyle dance group, a DJ, and complementary manicures from Chicago nail artist, Spifster.
In addition to creative entertainment, UNIQLO offered the first 200 people in the store free cashmere scarves, the first 1,000 would get free tote bags, and customers spending over $50 would receive a free Heattech t-shirt. Heattech is arguably the thing that made UNIQLO famous.
“The Heattech t-shirts are my favorite,” said Ayaka Sano, a UNIQLO brand ambassador. “They’re made to retain heat that the body gives off so it works sort of like Under Armour which makes it perfect for Chicago winters.”
These specially made shirts are only one of many great things that the store boasts. A unique service they offer is complementary hemming on all items. “Custom hemming is such a nice feature,” said Ranai Almazan, a volunteer and promoter at Saturday’s opening weekend event. “Complementary hemming is one service that really sets UNIQLO apart from fast-fashion competitors like H&M or Zara.”
Whatever it is you need, UNIQLO has it. Already being dubbed the IKEA of clothing, it has a wide variety of everyday wear items (fitting their LifeWear tagline), at a wide range of sizes, and a price-point that can’t be beat. “No matter what look you want, they have it and in sizes for every body type. UNIQLO is a brand that is really about the shopper, they want to build a relationship with their customer for the long haul,” said Franklin.