Nidhi Rastogi, marketing director, Uniqlo India on the brand's marketing strategy, plans for the cricket season and its positioning in India.
Uniqlo, one of the largest apparel manufacturer and retailer in the world, entered India four years ago and has since marked its presence in North India with 10 stores. The Japanese brand now wishes to expand into Western India and has opened up two new stores in Mumbai. It is focusing on increasing its brand awareness and wants to reach a wider audience through an integrated marketing approach, says Nidhi Rastogi, marketing director, Uniqlo India.
Tomohiko Sei, CEO, Uniqlo India says, it wishes to become the ‘most trusted’ retail brand in India by inculcating Uniqlo’s ‘Lifewear’ concept into the minds of Indian consumers. Sei revealed that despite having a high presence in north India, most of its online sales were dominated by the Mumbai region. Hence, Mumbai was a natural expansion.
Uniqlo India now plans on leveraging the cricket season in India on digital channels, says Rastogi. “We will definitely be doing some kind of marketing there, maybe not as deeply as other brands but we do intend to capture the cricket audience as well mainly on OTT and not on TV.”
“The World Cup is a very cluttered space. So we are working with the agency as to what can be that innovative way that we can crack that but we are aware that our audience is definitely watching cricket, she says.
The brand also recently roped in Katrina Kaif as its first ever brand ambassador in India in a bid to expand the brand’s reach. It is also one of the first Japanese retail apparel brands that is going mainstream with its marketing in India. At a global level, the Uniqlo has a long-term deal with Tennis star Roger Federer. He recently also joined hands with Irish designer Jonathan Anderson for a new collection at Uniqlo.
Commenting on the growing retail competition, she says, “How we differentiate ourselves is with our philosophy of lifestyle where we are saying we are giving people high functional, comfortable products which are meant to make their lives better. So I think our core and differentiator remains the quality of products we give.”
Uniqlo’s marketing strategy
Despite its expansion strategy, the brand intends to keep its marketing and advertising ‘digital-first’. “Even with Katrina onboard we plan to go digital-first along with other mediums because that’s where our digitally savvy TG is coming from. We support this by a lot of in-store marketing, OOH, print and a bit of radio,” says Rastogi.
Uniqlo India so far has been heavily leveraging influencer marketing and social media to establish themselves and its USP. “We are focusing on creating a community of Uniqlo fans, through our app and on creating brand advocates through people who have tried our products.”
For its Mumbai stores, the brand is using a number of activations and the stores itself as a marketing tool to attract the shoppers. It has also roped in a number of influencers to drive awareness around the store launches for the brand. Rastogi adds that they will amp up the marketing once both the stores are open and functioning.
Asked if the brand wishes to leverage other retail channels in India, Rastogi revealed that their website and apps are one of their biggest retail channels in India. Uniqlo intends to focus on delivering its message through its products on its own channels rather than using marketplaces like Amazon.
“We strongly believe that the best way to deliver our message is through our own channels and that's why we don’t believe in entering other market places," she adds.
As per Uniqlo’s Q3 results, India was among the top performing countries for the brand. The brand's sales increased more than 50% in India reaching Rs. 624.6 crore, marking a substantial jump from Rs. 391.7 crore reported in 2022.