New retail models in Asia: Insights from Seiyu and 7-Eleven

Low Lai Chow

Most brands like to know who their ideal customer is, but achieving this goal is rather more complicated for major retailers.

"The approach of agencies is to define the ideal image, and design the brand value proposition – such as the functional hit and emotional hit – based on that ideal user image," Tomonobu Tominaga, head of marketing for Seiyu – the Japanese supermarket chain owned by Walmart – said at the POPAI Asia Conference 2013.

"We have too many types of people; too many types of products in our stores; too many types of expectation. It is very complicated to forecast one type of image."

When Seiyu was drawing up plans to remodel its flagship store in Numazu in April 2013, it thus decided to investigate the basics of why customers were visiting its stores. To do so, it conducted one-on-one interviews, as well as undertaking an online survey of 1,000 participants that covered food, general merchandise and apparel.