What would Shein stores do to the U.S. retail apparel market?
Shein is moving closer to launching its first permanent brick and mortar store in Tokyo.
Shoppers will be able to look through displayed merchandise and try on clothing in the location’s three dressing rooms. Those looking to make a purchase will use Shein’s app to scan QR codes attached to individual items and place their orders online for home delivery. An Instagrammable fashion booth is designed to encourage customers to make a social media record of their time spent in the store.
Shein is also using a pop-up strategy to connect with Japanese customers. The fast-fashion giant currently has a temporary store in Osaka that will stay open until January 27. The pop-up, which features men’s and women’s clothing as well as products for home and pets, has about 800 items on display.
The retailer has also deployed pop-ups in the U.S. A temporary shop that opened for just two days in San Francisco this summer made headlines after the resale platform thredUP called for it to be boycotted over Shein’s business model, which “is the antithesis of circularity.”
Concerns over Shein’s environmental impact and the treatment of workers producing its goods in China have not slowed the fast-fashion giant’s growth trajectory. The Wall Street Journal reports that Shein’s global sales are forecast to reach $24 billion this year, up from $16 billion in 2021, moving the Singapore-based company past H&M and closer to Zara as the top-selling fast-fashion retailer.
Both H&M and Zara operate online and physical stores in the markets they serve, whereas Shein has grown with a digital-first approach supported by pop-ups. The company, which has been profitable since 2019, has the most downloaded retail app in the U.S., the biggest of the 150 markets around the world that it serves.
Shein claims that it sells 98 percent of the merchandise it churns out. The company quickly produces small batches of merchandise using a network of 3,000 manufacturers.
- Chinese Fashion Retailer Shein to Open Permanent ‘Event Space’ in Tokyo – Reuters/U.S. News & World Report
- Shein chooses Tokyo for its first permanent space in the world – Inside Retail
- Fast-Fashion Juggernaut Shein’s Sales Close In on Zara, H&M – The Wall Street Journal
- Will Shein’s new resale platform mute its fast-fashion critics? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How likely is Shein to open showroom stores in the U.S. similar to the one it is opening in Tokyo? What would a more robust physical presence mean for Shein’s business in the U.S.?