There is a Japanese store chain which is even more focused on the trend aspect of FMCG retail than @cosme. RanKingRanQueen sells cosmetics, confectionery, beverages and books strictly according to what the three top-sellers are in each category. There are four RanKingRanQueen stores in Japan; two in Tokyo, one in Yokohama and one store in Osaka.
The stores are located in busy train stations since this is where commuter traffic and especially the trend-driven younger consumers (the main target demographic of the store chain!) congregate. I visited the RanKingRanQueen store in Yokohama – it’s located in Azamino station (one of the stops on the Tokyu Den-en-toshi line from Shibuya) directly opposite the main ticket gates.
The store sells classic convenience store goods: cosmetics (face mask, skin care, makeup, hair care), sweets and drinks (I bought the top ranking tea beverage which was a rather delicious cold barley tea), books, DVD and CDs, accessories and gadgets. On every single display or shelf the items are tagged with numbers 1 to 3 and the line-up changes constantly, depending on how popular the articles are with consumers. The average RanKingRanQueen store carries some 250-300 items.
I’m not entirely sure what type of market research information the company uses to determine which items are bestsellers, but the RanKingRanQueen business belongs to Tokyu Recreation, one of the many divisions of the Tokyu Group conglomerate.
Tokyu Group is huge, they are active in all areas of “urban development”, including transportation, recreation, retail, real estate, lifestyle services, hotels….. Not only do they seem to own most of Tokyo’s railway system (at least those bits that don’t belong to Japan Rail) but they also have an immensely long list of member companies – there must be over 200 divisions/subsidiaries.
Amongst other things, they operate department store chains Tokyu and Tokyu Hands – Tokyu Hands in particular is a very cool retail chain and merits its own company profile. Considering how many retail chains Tokyu Group owns, it might explain (I think) how RanKingRanQueen has access to all sorts of FMCG market research info. Talk about exploiting group synergies!