Uniqlo’s sister store GU is introducing a concept that encourages showrooming beyond the store’s walls. Each day, 30 shoppers are allowed to pick up to three items and wear them for a day. No driver license is required, just a name and phone number. No restrictions on where the consumers can wear the clothes as long as they are back by closing time to buy or return the items. Returned items will go back to the shelf or in the recycling bin.
Previous L2 posts and reports mention how much of online and mobile presence is about driving consumers in-store. While not exactly an omnichannel or multichannel offering, GU offering increases foot traffic by enticing consumers to try out the concept, and forcing them to return for a second time.
The concept is on a trial basis until June 30th, and has already generated some skepticism. For example, what is the risk that consumers will use the store as a way to borrow a new outfit every day? And how many consumers will return if they haven’t left a security deposit or an id?
GU items are inexpensive ($20 on average), which lessens the likelihood of planned thefts. And it is a retailer and manufacturer, which means customers cannot try on and buy elsewhere. Lending out clothes will not work for every manufacture, but the results of this experiment will reveal a bit about what consumers are looking for in a shopping experience. Perhaps, similar in-store innovations will follow.