Post Categories: December 2015

Global Perspectives: Japanese Retailers Prove One Store Doesn’t Have to Fit All

Global-pic1Historically, most supermarkets and mass merchandise stores have tried to offer a little something for everyone in order to have the broadest appeal. But some Japanese retailers are now turning that idea on its head—and getting ahead in the process.

In the last couple of years, several Japanese retailers have opened general merchandise and grocery stores—even full shopping malls—targeted specifically to their core customers, whether that be families with children, older adults or affluent individuals.

“One of our partners, Aeon, is doing a great job of differentiating itself by building retail spaces and offering products targeted to Japan’s older generation,” explains Bharat Rupani, President of Retail Services and International (Asia) for Daymon Worldwide. “Japan has a large   population of seniors. In response, AGlobal-pic2eon has opened a mall that is tailored to the needs of

those customers. It is called the ‘Grand Generation Mall’ or ‘GG Mall,’ and it presents a whole new way of serving older adults. For example, they have lower seats and shorter shelves, and there’s a health-care facility in the mall.” Aeon’s GG stores also offer many products designed with older adults in mind, such as better-fitting clothing and foods in smaller serving sizes.

Another Japanese retailer, part of the 7-Eleven group, recently opened a family-focused mall on the outskirts of Tokyo, in an area that’s becoming increasingly popular with young families. “The new Grand Tree Mall offers a leisure shopping environment that is very family-friendly,” describes Danny Chen, Vice President of International for Interactions. “For example, in the food court, they have a children’s area with shorter tables and chairs mixed in with regular adult-size tables and chairs. That way parents and children can eat together, but they can both be comfortable. They also have padded chairs that encourage families to stay and relax.” A rooftop park, children’s play areas, and stores catering to the range of household needs also encourage families to make visiting the mall a full-day outing.

Chen says targeted malls and stores like these are prime examples of how retailers can compete in innovative ways. “You see many retailers trying to compete on price, but they can only go so low,” he explains. “Retailers who are trying different things, like offering new services or targeting specific audiences, are finding that many shoppers are willing to pay for something unique.”

To learn more about international business opportunities with Interactions, contact Danny Chen at