business

Danish variety store Tiger in Osaka can’t keep up with shoppers

11 Comments
By Daniel Nishina

Danish variety store, Tiger, had recently opened up its first store in Osaka in the shopping area known as American Village. Little did they know about the propensities of the Japanese shopper.

Or maybe they just didn’t give them enough credit. In this case, it was the intensity of Japanese shoppers that resulted in the store having to unexpectedly shut down. Despite having the experience of managing stores in 16 different countries, Tiger underestimated the insatiable drive of Japanese people to shop, even if it meant queueing in line for hours and hours.

All this trouble for the European answer to the 100 yen shop...

One morning, even before the doors opened, there was already a long line extending 200 meters, a line that never shrunk due to a continuous flow of eager customers. The store itself has a unique set-up: instead of walking around and browsing freely, customers follow a pre-decided path through the store, ultimately ending up at the checkout. The check-out line backed up so quickly and so badly that customers who’d just entered were basically immediately standing in another line behind other customers.

Opening day saw over 1,000 customers who took 2 hours just to get in the store, and about an hour from there to pay and get out. The exact same thing happened on the second and third days also. What was happening? It was primarily the raw number of customers. The store staff thought they’d prepared, knowing that there had been pre-opening PR and other hype, but their estimates were short by about half.

Another mis-estimate was of how much each customer would buy. The customers were purchasing about twice the amount of European customers. This completely tied up the measly 4 cashiers. To make matters worse, certain shelves were quickly stripped bare and staff scrambled to re-stock. They hadn’t known what products were going to be popular in Japan and they had intended to play it by ear, but alas. They decided to close down the store on the third day after opening, saying they didn’t want customers walking around a barren, shabby-looking store. During this 2-day downtime they added cash registers, staff, and emergency-ordered stock from warehouses in Shanghai. Tiger’s CEO, who was in town for the event, reportedly went home in shock and awe, muttering, “But it looks like such a small, unassuming country…”.

Source: Business Media

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©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


11 Comments
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Too bad the most important fact of the story is missing: what exactly does the store sell. It'd be nice to know what types of goods are responsible for this consumer hysteria. "Variety store" tells us nothing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is similar to Daiso, selling a bit of everything from homeware, kitchenware and stationery to hobby items.

The store mostly sells inexpensive household goods, apparently. Imagine waiting an hour or more to shop for a lot of 100 yen crap??

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fs20120605a3.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The store itself has a unique set-up: instead of walking around and browsing freely, customers follow a pre-decided path through the store, ultimately ending up at the checkout.

Reminds me of IKEA.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“But it looks like such a small, unassuming country…” haha! I can't believe there are still Western-centric fools who think that Japan is a "small country," despite it having 120 million people, or 25 times the population of Denmark, 40 million more than Germany, twice the population of France, twice the population of Great Britain, etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Testimony that there are too many housewives with too much free time on their hands out there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I believe that the average Japanese consumer is very curious, so any new store is a big attraction--especially one that they have never seen before. Once the thrill of finding something new wears off, we'll probably get a better sense of how the store actually does.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

emergency-ordered stock from warehouses in Shanghai.

Are these Danish products stored in Shanghai ? Or Chinese products ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@FightingViking Excellent question. Lets review the evidence: dollar store, Chinese warehouse, Daiso comparisons. Whirr, click, beep. My amazing intuition machine says Made in China. Unless there are sweatshops in Denmark now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@TorafusuTorasan

Unless there are sweatshops in Denmark now.

Not that I know of...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should have investigated the tendency of Japanese shoppers first. You have a lot of case like IKEA.... Whether they buy or not, they're entering into a store and enjoy.... finally end up at cashiers.. sometime they're just looking. It should cause long-que make it crowd..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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