• WWD/ By Jean E. Palmieri

Uniqlo Launching Customer Sampling Program

The retailer will give away 100,000 pieces of Heattech product to customers who download its app.

Uniqlo is doing its best to keep its customers warm this winter.

On Friday, the retailer will launch a new member sampling program where people who download its app will be gifted a piece of Heattech, the brand’s winter base layer. (Customers need to download the app by Oct. 17 and link their online account.) Through Nov. 10, they will be able to choose from a variety of Heattech styles in various colors for men and women including T-shirts, turtlenecks and leggings until 100,000 are given away.

After Nov. 10, a different product will be featured each week and app members will be given the opportunity to sample those as well.

“As a brand that is made for all, we look forward to engaging with our community of customers in this new and exciting way, and showing our thanks to our loyal app members,” said Hiroshi Taki, Uniqlo USA’s chief executive officer. “By gifting our key products, such as Heattech, we hope to establish a true two-way dialogue with our customers, and serve a greater number of people with our apparel that is designed to make everyday life better.”

Takafumi Yamaguchi, vice president of U.S. digital commerce for Uniqlo, said the company launched its app in the U.S. market in May 2017. “In addition to providing a direct portal to our full e-commerce site, the app offers customers exclusive benefits such as early access to select collections, automatic e-receipts for in-store purchases, and easy reordering of favorite items with purchase history,” he said. “With the introduction of our new sampling program we are excited to further expand these exclusive benefits, and give our customers an opportunity to test all of our products throughout the season with a new sample selection every week.”

He said that unlike other companies, there is no minimum requirement or sales threshold to participate. “Every app member is able to receive all app benefits from Day One,” he said. “The intent of the campaign is to provide both existing and new customers alike a way to experience Uniqlo’s products through trial, including some of our most beloved items they may not have discovered before, as well as completely new styles.”

Taki declined to say how large the company thinks the business can be after the sampling program launched, but said Uniqlo is expecting a “lift in our app membership from this initiative and an increase in customer trial of our products.” And rather than tapping customers to sell Uniqlo merchandise to their friends and followers, a program Adidas recently launched, Uniqlo will encourage customers instead to provide feedback that will help the brand “innovate and improve our products, and incorporate their valuable input into our future product development.”