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Retailer gets ‘cute’ with Singapore

by Siti Rahil

Kyodo

Japanese fashion brand and retailer Satisfaction Guaranteed has launched the sale of “kawaii,” or cute, merchandise usually associated with Japan, through high-tech digital vending machines in Singapore.

“Singapore will . . . be the first country outside of Japan to have this intelligent digital vending machine,” the company said Friday at an event to introduce its new retail platform in the affluent city-state.

“These state-of-the-art digital vending machines . . . will pair technology with an exclusive range of quality Japanese products to bring a fresh shopping experience,” it said in a statement.

The move is aimed at expanding the brand’s business to Southeast Asia, where its Facebook page has already attracted a huge fan base.

The company now plans to sell Japanese products and services in the region through channels such as vending machines and the Internet.

In Japan, it has 15 shops and also markets products through its website.

Its latest venture is partly funded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which has been promoting a Cool Japan initiative that aims to promote Japanese goods and services on a worldwide scale to help propel economic growth.

It is renting the vending machines from JR East Water Business Co., which operates more than 500 such machines in Japan.

Three state-of-the-art digital vending machines will be used initially in Singapore to test customer response.

They will be strategically positioned at three locations in central Singapore — in the 100AM Mall in the Chinatown district, in Liang Court in the Clark Quay area beside the Singapore River, and at The Cathay, a shopping mall near the Orchard Road shopping district.

The vending machines will offer some 29 beauty and lifestyle products and traditional handicrafts, mostly priced at 10 Singapore dollars (¥810).

They include small beauty products that tend to be popular with youths such as colorful and fanciful nail wraps, nail polish and instant hair color as well as kawaii goods such as cute pouches, and traditional Japanese handicrafts such as “daruma” dolls.

The company will use the latest retail platform to “promote interesting and seasonal products made in Japan to overseas markets,” said Shunsuke Sato, the company’s chief executive officer.