As competition to attract customers grows fierce among domestic retailers in Japan, some brands have begun staffing select locations with a new breed of customer-service experts to cater to the general needs of tourist shoppers, reported The Japan Times.
Uniqlo has introduced nearly 20 concierges to provide directions to the nearest stations and information on nearby restaurants at its flagship store in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Since nearly 30 percent of the Ginza store’s customers are foreign visitors, the concierges are picked from among multilingual employees. Each of them speak at least one of four foreign languages — English, French, Chinese and Korean.
Tower Records has also embraced the concierge approach at the Shinjuku store by creating a “concierge counter” dedicated to handling customers’ inquiries. According to The Japan Times, the counter was added because the ordinary store staff found it difficult to attend fully to customers’ needs on crowded store floors.
The trend in Japan isn't exclusive to retail. Pasona Group Inc., a staffing service company, has trained around 70 “eco-concierges” to answer any questions about environmentally friendly home appliances and instruct visitors on how to use a battery recharger for electric cars at showrooms and exhibition booths. In addition to providing eco-friendly tips, they also offer cooking lessons using an energy-efficient induction-heater cooking system.
- Study: Meatless Monday campaign reaches more than half of America.
Watermelon fields in eastern China are a mess after farmers used growth chemicals in an attempt to make extra money. The farmers sprayed forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator, during overly wet weather and put it on too late in the season, which made the melons explode in the fields according to one report by China Central Television.
According to MSNBC, the exact growth chemical used by Chinese farmers is permitted on grapes and kiwi fruit in the US.
This is yet another example of the increasingly concerns about food safety and quality tracking. As we examine the food chain and the increase in sales of organic produce, it seems logical to draw attention to the inability of agencies to inform the public fully, and avoid potentially severe health hazards.
- All profits from the TATCHA's Kiri Gift Set of aburatorigami (Japanese blotting papers) through March 31st will go to support relief efforts in Japan. You can purchase one, or many, here.
- ShelterBox USA provides emergency supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and essential equipment to the worst hit areas of Japan. Best of all, you can track your box to know it's going to good use. Donate now.
- For each $5 donation on LivingSocial, they will match funds and donate to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund. Limited time so click now.
- A closer look at Maison Martin Margiela bottle lamps by AnOther's Lovers.
- New report from Experian shows that up to 90% of store purchases are now influenced by online research according to Retail Week.
- Pop-ups will never replace permanent stores, but they can & should become complement to a retailer’s brand strategy.
- Fast Company names the 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food. Is it just us or does your definition of "innovation" differ?
We're thrilled- the intersection of food and fashion makes its way to Japan via "farm gals".
- Can a food truck make your brand hip? Some well-established restaurants think so.
- Cupcakes or cash- people choose favorite foods over Money according to survey released by the American Heart association.
- Trade school tuition is up but does culinary school matter?
- 1 of 2