Takashimaya and Onward link through online & stores

Oct 07

Takashimaya and Onward have launched a collaboration that allows sales assistants in Onward’s brand concessions to order unavailable items directly from Select Square, Takashimaya’s online store. For Onward, this means more flexibility in merchandising and better use of limited space. For Takashimaya it expands the options for omnichannel services and provides an opportunity to better serve its regional customers.

Takashimaya and Onward last month announced a new tie-up to develop stores both online and off. Onward concessions in Takashimaya stores will be issued with tablets allowing assistants to order items unavailable in the store for delivery direct to the customer’s home, expanding available inventory by 1.5 times on average and making it easier to offer a wider range of sizes and colours.

This is the first tie-up between Onward and a specific department store chain, with both companies contributing to developing the technology required. Assistants will make the order through Takashimaya’s growing online store, Select Square. The tablet system also allows Onward to track performance of individual sales assistants.

The tablets were first introduced in Takashimaya’s Shinjuku and Yokohama stores in early September, beginning with Onward brands like 23-Ku, ICB, Jiyu-ku and J-Press. The same system will be introduced in Nihonbashi, Kashiwa and Namba by the end of the year, with problems and adjustments ironed out before further rollout.

To promote the new service, purchases of ¥10,000 or more receive a ¥500 Takashimaya discount coupon.

Onward is planning a possible revamp of stores based on its experience with the new system. Depending on customer response, stores could carry a much more limited range of items, with the chance that Onward’s concessions may become easier to navigate rather than the usual crowded pile it high approach.

With department store womenswear sales heavily dented by online sales, Takashimaya is keen to introduce similar systems for other brands too. For its larger city stores, huge footfall and new tourist traffic is sustaining the chain, but Takashimaya is the largest operator of department stores in regional cities, and those need all the help they can get. Connecting sales floors directly with the online store is possibly a more important strategy than it first appears.

Get a concise monthly update on Japanese Consumer Markets – and a FREE copy of our monthly report.