MUJI heading for retail success with App Annie




Tokyo, Japan

Most popular app:

MUJI passport

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The backstory

MUJI passport, the shopping app for the popular Japanese home goods and fashion retailer, rewards users with points and discounts that can be used both in-store and online. The more you shop, interact with the store or its app, the more discounts you can earn. The app can quickly check in-store inventory and point to the nearest location to pick up an item, or if needed, users can make purchases on the linked online web store seamlessly.

The points-reward system has paid off. MUJI passport is one of Japan’s top shopping apps, and app-assisted sales account for close to 40% of MUJI’s overall retail purchases. The app is available in China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan, and will soon expand into other places with MUJI brick-and-mortar locations.


MUJI passport successfully grew its user base since launch, but there were lingering questions. “We needed to know how our growth rate compared to the market and the competition,” says Tsunemi Kawana, General Manager of WEB Business Division, Ryohin Keikaku Co.,Ltd. “We wanted to develop customer communications, and measure the effects of our outreach.”

Their app expansion plans required a source for app market data that covered global markets on both iOS and Android platforms. “That’s when we turned to App Annie Intelligence,” Tsunemi says. “How we use our app as a tool for growth is key,” he says. Comprehensive, competitive data is essential.


Japan is home to 400 brick-and-mortar locations of MUJI, and there are 340 additional stores around the world. Driving in-store foot traffic is one of the primary goals of MUJI passport, Tsunemi says. Retail apps in Asia fight for marketshare in a crowded marketplace; it requires innovation to stand out.

“Right now, MUJI members purchase from our store six times a year on average. So we track our monthly active users (MAU), rather than weekly or daily activity.” They use reports from App Annie Intelligence to compare those numbers against the competition.

Tsunemi also started to track users’ time spent in-app, as they expanded MUJI passport’s media function to deliver articles from their owned media. The goal was to increase engagement with customers, but they weren’t sure what numbers to expect.

Using App Annie Intelligence enables Tsunemi and his team to verify hypotheses with quantitative data. “We believed we could increase our users’ time spent in-app,” he says. “By comparing time spent on MUJI passport against competitor apps, we saw plenty of room for growth.”

As the MUJI passport team continues to use App Annie Intelligence data, Tsunemi predicts an impressive future for retail apps. “Many retailers view apps as merely a source for CRM and promotion, or as a tool to share simple media.” Some retailers, Tsunemi says, overlook the way an app can deliver comprehensive, interactive and personalized brand experiences.

“There are many things apps can do that will improve the overall shopping experience.” Tsunemi says, “I expect apps to become a bridge that connects brands to everything around them.”

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