Japanese Isetan Mitsukoshi opens online shop on Alibaba’s Tmall Global

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

 Isetan Mitsukoshi e-commerce shop on Alibaba’s Tmall Global
Japan’s largest department store, Isetan Mitsukoshi, launches its e-commerce shop on Alibaba Group's Tmall Global to strengthen its online-to-offline (O2O) presence and appeal to Chinese consumers.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, which sells a wide range of cosmetics, hair care and fragrance products from domestic brands such as Three and internationally-renowned giant Yves Saint Laurent, opened its e-commerce store on giant online retailer Alibaba Group's Tmall Global on 25th November 2016.

O2O sales success

In late November, the department store began tests in preparation for the online launch. Offline, the company announced its success amounts to over 3.5 mn sales per 1 m2​ of sales floor and is hoping this popularity is reflected online.

The move represents Isetan Mitsukoshi’s focus on progressing its digital marketing strategy and integrating “cyberspace and the real world to develop new values, customers and business projects”, said Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings in a press release.

While Hong Kong has reported a slump in tourism numbers, sales of duty-free items in the first six months of 2016 in Japan were around 3.7 times higher than figures reported three years ago.

Within the duty-free sales sector of Isetan Mitsukoshi , approximately 70% of items purchased were bought by Chinese customers, who associate Japanese products with high-quality.

Currently, Isetan Mitsukoshi operates out of its three flagship stores in Sapporo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and 24 other regional small-to-medium stores located throughout Japan and 31 other outlets worldwide.

Strengthening links with China

As five of these stores are located in China, the company hopes that the new partnership will help to increase its presence in the Chinese market and gain support from Chinese consumers.

Isetan Mitsukoshi will sell mainly Japanese product lines on Tmall global. The company also aims to bridge its online-to-offline (O2O) gap, and build the Japanese business’s relationship with China and understand marketing strategies and trends in the Chinese marketplace.

During the initial launch period, Isetan Mitsukoshi will sell its own brand and seasonal products. It will then introduce marketing campaigns and promotional activities relating to  design collaborations with brands to add to the range of products offered.

In addition to the company’s established, physical stores and the new e-commerce shop, Isetan Mitsukoshi will aim to generate additional interest through creating pop-up stores that give customers a sneak peak at its latest product lines.

Online retailing giant, Alibaba Group, which operates China's largest business to consumer online shop, Tmall, had 434 million active users on China's retail market in June 2016.

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