Surprise! Or maybe not that much of a surprise if you consider how the timing of this news coincides with the holiday shopping season. Regardless, Uniqlo is finally launching U.S. e-commerce--and really soon. So now people who don't live in New York or San Francisco (the only US locations with Uniqlo stores) can stock up on cashmere sweaters and heat-tech undergarments.
We first learned of Uniqlo's plans to launch e-commerce just a couple of months ago and today WWD is reporting that an e-commerce site will go live next week. The exact date is not clear, but according to the trade there will be online promotions like $9.90 Japanese engineered denim, $49.90 ultralight down jackets, and cashmere sweaters for $59.90 to $99.90.
And that's not all. It sounds like the Japanese company's plans for growth--both online and in the U.S.--won't end here. Online sales will help Uniqlo figure out where in the US to open new brick-and-mortar outposts. And while Japan is already a pretty technologically-savvy place (to put it mildly), Shin Odake, Uniqlo’s U.S. general manager, is interested in Silicon Valley. “Having a San Francisco store is a good opportunity to work with outside [tech] companies and experiment,” Odake told WWD. “Hopefully, we can hire and find the talent. Global e-commerce is headquartered in Japan, but we’re open to moving the global headquarters to the U.S. We feel there’s more talent and more knowledge in the U.S."
Uniqlo and its executives have always stressed the company's focus on technology, both in their functional fabrics and futuristic retail spaces, so it comes as no surprise that they are looking for new ways to advance in the tech world. They are definitely ones to watch in terms of doing something new and different with e-commerce.