Uniqlo’s Lucky Counter

Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo has created yet another innovative move via new media, this time with the “Lucky Counter” and usage of Twitter. As a key brand/retailer to watch as it continues to gain momentum not only in our Japan Youth Culture Study, but also North American Youth Culture Studies, Uniqlo has created another exciting campaign, this time starting in the U.K.

Basically, every time a person tweets about an item from Uniqlo, the retailer reduces the price of that piece of clothing which is then tracked and sold starting today, September 9th, at that discounted price. The idea, which was launched in conjunction with Uniqlo’s U.K. ecommerce launch, is intended get people tweeting about the retailer but also increases hype and excitement for their apparel and generate an overall sense of connection with youth consumers savvy with new media. As predicted, Uniqlo’s been trending big-time in the U.K. because of this campaign.

Using the hashtag #luckycounter, you can see already that several items have dropped some 60%. Instead of paying money for traditional advertising, they are using viral methods -word-of-mouth, Facebook posts, and tweet to spread the word.

H&M, the other fast-fashion retail giant to watch, based out of Stockholm, has announced several new innovations as well. First, their upcoming collaboration with Lanvin, which is quite unique in that they’ve already started a video series about the collab. They will also be posting an H&M with Lanvin Fashion Show live on their site November 2, 2010 for the launch of the collection. Similar to other brands that now are posting fashion video vignettes and live coverage of their runway shows (i.e., Prada, Burberry), the H&M series is generating a large following among youth culture.

Other interesting moves from the retailer include their recent announcement with Levi Strauss to ban the practice of sandblasting denim. Sandblasting is what is done to denim in the process of achieving a warn look (ala grunge) but the process is environmentally unsound, and hazardous to the people doing the sandblasting as it releases crystalline silica into the air.

Finally, H&M has launched a long-term incentive program for employees in order to recognize and keep their workers on board. All employees in the H&M Group in all countries are included in the incentive program on the same basic principle, on the basis of the amount of time worked in the company, regardless of position or salary level. The number of years the employee has previously worked will be included in the qualification period which is five years, unless local regulations stipulate otherwise. The basic principle is that payment begins when the employee turns 62. However, it will be possible to choose to receive payment of the employee’s portion already after ten years of employment, although no earlier than 2021.