Travel in Japan is popular because Japan has so much to offer. Muji is a Japanese retail company that sells a wide range of consumer goods and household products. Its design philosophy is very minimalist as it emphasizes reducing production & packaging waste as well as recycling. Also, its ‘no-brand’ / no-logo policy is truly unique. The brand name Muji means no-brand high-quality goods. Due to its no-brand strategy, Muji spends very little money on classical marketing or advertisement. Clearly, word of mouth, the simple and satisfying shopping experience and its anti-brand movement have significantly contributed to Muji’s success as a company. Further, its minimalist message resonates with customers who like unbranded products that look more appealing. Many customers would prefer this alternative as they find this concept refreshing in a modern world where traditional branded products are everywhere.
- The background:
In 1980 Muji only had 40 products, including notebooks, pencils, pens, storage units, kitchen equipment, food items and apparel. Then Muji created a car. Apart from that, currently Muji’s business also includes home furnishing and florist as well as Miji House (architectural projects). Currently, Muji’s main business includes Cafe & Meal Muji as well. That means this company is also characterized by a successful business in the hospitality industry now (Roll 2019).
Right now, Muji has 505 retail outlets globally, selling over 7,000 different products. As a reasonably priced brand, Muji is able to keep the prices lower than usual through the right materials in most stores. Meanwhile, its manufacturing processes are streamlined and packaging is minimized. Furthermore, its restaurants have become reasonably profitable. In this strategic research report, Muji’s strategy and its competitive environment will be critically analyzed. More specifically, its current position and strategy will be analyzed in detail, and recommendations for future strategy will be provided, too.
- Travel in Japan & Muji:
Information in this strategic research report is obtained via reliable sources such as universities’ libraries and reputable websites about business management & marketing. A wide variety of resources have been found on Google Scholar, an academic tool that automatically generates high-quality and peer-reviewed journal articles and research papers which offer insights and data about this topic. When ‘Muji strategy’ is entered on Google Scholar, this keyword leads to more than 4,000 results within 0.07 seconds. Yet only the most relevant results are used as references in this strategic research report.
- Analysis of strategy / position
The first concept of analysis that is utilized here is SWOT analysis which deconstructs strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are involved in Muji.
Muji has three major strengths that will be discussed below:
In terms of its most obvious strength, Muji provides customers with a unique experience that cannot be found elsewhere. Obviously, Muji gives customers the special pleasure which works as a hidden strength of its brand personality. Since Muji is a Japanese brand that is very detail-oriented, it offers very memorable and subtle details when customers are interacting with this brand: the beautiful sounds of light instruments and the fragrance of cedar contribute to this particular trait. Indeed, the impact of various senses during the pleasant shopping experience is very powerful (Roll 2019).
Secondly, the quality of its products is very high. Because its products are made in Japan, high quality, attention to detail and delicate packaging are outstanding features of this brand. As Muji decides to focus on quality rather than bells and whistles that do not really matter, the right customers appreciate this approach very much (Hill 2013). Apparently, Muji’s products are timeless and adaptable. More importantly, these products can last for a long time. Therefore, most of their products that were designed in the early 1990s are still popular in this day and age. The majority of Muji’s household items are made in Japan, including furniture in its European stores.
Thirdly, Muji has a strong identity, i.e., respecting the nature, decreasing waste, recycling materials and keeping things simple & streamlined. This message has been successfully communicated to its target market over the years. Furthermore, the manufacturing processes are also best characterized by a minimalist approach in order to reduce waste and lower costs. It is clear that Muji’s approach is the answer to the increasing population and the shrinking space at home. Besides, Hill (2013) argues that in a world where excessive production and consumption as well as climate change are posing a threat to the society, Muji satisfies the expectations of modern, switched-on customers who would like to address global warming and protect the environment through their own daily actions.
“What’s more, globalization has ignited strong interest in eastern culture; thus, as a Japanese brand, Muji is indeed the ideal company which helps the typical customer to create an eco-friendly home.”