Working together Think Lab and JINS with On-site Horizontal Connections, Boost the Value of Customer Experience

PROJECT2021.03.10

  • #Headquarters Creators
  • #Inspiring
  • #Progressive
  • #Project Stories
  • #Store Creators

Each personnel of Think Lab, a company expands a working space business, and JINS, an eyewear company for a wide range of customers, worked together to liven up both stores in Ginza. We asked this time about how they created on-site horizontal connections, the background to try a new way to attract customers beyond the boundaries of their businesses, and the changes and challenges saw through in their processes.

A trigger to let JINS and Think Lab work together

―A new store opened amid COVID-19. With the help of JINS,
I wanted to attract customers. (Ishii)

Ishii
Think Lab Business Group,
JINS JP (Japan Division)

Ishii/The primary motive that I wanted to work with JINS is to attract customers to our newly opened Think Lab Ginza. Think Lab Ginza opened at the end of July 2020 amid the COVID-19 epidemic. While struggling to find a way to increase the number of new customers, I made a judgment not to bring in customers far from here due to COVID-19, therefore, I was wondering how we could target people who were already at Ginza as our potential customers, as an alternative way. One day, I recognized a store named JINS where many customers are coming every day is located near us, only a five-minute walk.
Then, we Think Lab team asked “Would you lend us a hand? Why don’t we work together somehow?” to a JINS team. At that time, it was very grateful to me for their kind and positive attitude toward us.

―I decided promptly, like “Sounds fun!”
By touching the seriousness of Think Lab, we got motivated. (Sato)

Sato
Area 18 Area Director, JINS Store Operation Group
JINS JP (Japan Division)

Sato/First of all, when I received this offer, I simply thought, “Sounds so fun, I’d love to do this.” Our JINS stores in Tokyo have also been deeply impacted by COVID-19, especially both my area of Ginza and Yurakucho got tremendous damages. The sales of JINS Yurakucho were decreased due to most of all workers around central Tokyo who are the main customers have shifted to teleworking. As for JINS Ginza, inbound tourists disappeared and that led the considerable dropped sales.
In that sense, I had high expectations and was motivated, like “Through this attempt, customers may be more interested in JINS, and be attracted to our store” and “Sounds so fun,” so I decided promptly on the spot.

When I talked to our store staff and a store manager, everyone positively accepted, such as “That’s interesting” and “I’m huge interested in that.” Later, we actually visited Think Lab, and that made our staff motivated.
Looking back, I think what we did is a pretty good experience for us.

The state of Think Lab tour

Although I recognized the business of Think Lab existed in the same company, I’d no chance to experience before. I’d experienced a wonderful place named Think Lab on an actual tour, and I truly appreciate that I could touch the strong feelings and commitment of the people involved in this business and how they created this space.

I could observe the seriousness of the people who work in the same company to realize our ideal “Magnify Life.” We all consequently had a very positive impact as well.

What are the specific efforts?

―JINS distributed Think Lab coupons.
Think Lab rented out JINS SCREEN to customers to appeal the products of JINS. (Ishii)

Ishii/While discussing with Sato and each store, I concluded my thought that customers who bought glasses and have to wait to receive them at JINS stores should spend their time at Think Lab where provides a perfectly divided private space for the meaning of counter-infection measures too.

Therefore, we implemented a measure to induce customers to visit Think Lab Ginza by distributing free coupons (available 3 hours) for the first time to those who purchased glasses at JINS stores. In contrast, Think Lab rented out JINS SCREEN (blue light blocking glasses) to customers for free to appeal the products of JINS, and also conveyed to customers that JINS stores locate near here.

In fact, I was glad when I received my expected reactions by customers who visited Think Lab because they said, “I’m afraid to kill my time at a cafe until the time I can pick up my glasses.” Thus far, there are not many though, some became repeat customers through our free coupons and have used Think Lab multiple times.

First free (3 hours) coupon for Think Lab Ginza store distributed at JINS store

JINS SCREEN rented for free at Think Lab

―Store staff positively induced customers
to visit Think Lab and exchanged ideas spontaneously.(Sato)

Sato/Led by both JINS store managers, we discussed the timing to distribute coupons at JINS stores and the way to approach customers to let them know about this collaboration, and all exchanged ideas spontaneously. Distributing coupons and approaching customers for Think Lab actually burdened our daily business operations subtlety, and plus those didn’t connect to our store sales directly. However, each staff had the guts to work positively with the mind of “Let more and more people know Think Lab,” not that mind of “Oh, what a pain,” and they literally worked like that.

Ishii/That was really grateful, indeed. When we suggested to the store managers as “Why don’t you hand out the coupons when you pass ordered glasses to customers?”, they brought back our suggestion to their stores and discussed, and then re-suggested to us as “How about the timing of an eye test? Because we can positively offer to customers if we find out they are going to use glasses for teleworking after confirming their purpose of usage”; and I totally agreed with their suggestion.

Changes and growth felt through this collaborative project

―Staff stimulated by their horizontal connections and grown
after breaking through the stagnation.(Sato)

Sato/In the wake of COVID-19, our staff tended to be gloomy by negative news, yet working together with Think Lab made them cheerful gradually. They might have been motivated by a given challenge they could try, and that’s obvious I could feel through their ways of working every day. As working with the same staff and the same environment, somehow we feel a sense of dead-end or stagnation occasionally.

However, seeing through our horizontal connections and knowing the people who are making their desperate efforts to conquer this harsh time and realize the ideal by doing trial and error just the same as we do, our staff got motivated and that led each one of their growth.

―Working with JINS which has a different business style and target customers broadened
my horizons and a sense of responsibility for a new business enhanced.(Ishii)

JINS store creator explaining
the Think Lab free trial campaign with a smile

Ishii/I almost cry to hear that...That’s too good to me.
In my case, there were two changes in myself.
Actually, after the actual tour, one of the store staff sent a long message to me and it said, “I think Think Lab and JINS MEME are really epic.” As I read that message, I got fired up as “we have to do our best more” while embracing joy to get involved with Think Lab as a new business of JINS.

Another change is my horizons have been broadened. Think Lab is the one which is a super edgy brand among co-working spaces. Adversely, JINS focuses on customers who can be categorized as the mass. To me, talking to Sato brought me a chance to think about broadening our target customers, like “how we can let more people know Think Lab?”

―My new role has emerged by being interested in completely different operations
from my job and knowing a new aspect of the company.(Sato)

Sato/My private change through this project is that I could understand various aspects of a different business and the entire company which are unable to be grasped just the name of its eyewear retail business.

It’s been fourteen years this winter since I joined JINS and I’d worked as a salesperson at the store operation group, therefore, there was no chance to get involved with jobs in other operations. Accordingly, as I got to know Ishii’s job, I thought it looked really interesting, and I began to think, “I want to do that too.” Now, I feel very lucky that I was able to be interested in another field of work in this way. Furthermore, I would like to take initiative to start a new challenge to make a positive impact on stores by enhancing horizontal connections while utilizing my experiences belonging to the store operation group for a long time.

In these days, people say that “A company has to change its pyramided organization to horizontal organization with an open-door policy” a lot in many places or occasions. Still, bonding horizontal connections from on-site, spreading and sharing someone’s efforts through those connections are truly meaningful actions, instead of just waiting the day the company changes its structure.

―Taking initiative to make horizontal connections by each one of the on-site staff
who actually felt the changes led by COVID-19 is important.(Ishii)

Ishii/Both JINS and Think Lab, the on-site staff are the ones who actually felt the changes led by COVID-19 the most, so I think it might have some hidden tips to bounce our business big in there. That’s why the ideas to increase the value of each store will be incubated by taking the initiative to make horizontal connections among each one of the on-site staff, that I believe.

For example, if we can connect the idea of “this and that happened at eyewear stores and workspaces due to COVID-19, so customers would be satisfied more if those two brands could do something like this together,” each JINS store will be able to unleash their innate power to make JINS a strong brand more than ever. In that aspect as well, I think now is the chance, so I’d love to receive various information from our on-site staff.

Challenges and expectations for the future felt through the efforts

―Hope to ignite what the on-site staff hidden in their hearts
in order to encourage them to communicate information more.(Ishii)

Ishii/Originally, I worked at a store, and then became a store director of a JINS MEME specialty store. Later, I transferred to Think Lab, so I have a kind of unique career.
Looking back my past experiences that I’ve undergone with my course of action “Bring a new value to the world with new ideas,” I sometimes thought that why the on-site staff stopped communicating information although they should communicate information more. They all surely have something hidden in their hearts, so I would like to ignite those in the future.

In recent big companies, a group formed by a young generation naturally with a will of “Change a company and the world by us.” It would be great to see a trend in JINS where a young generation forms a team and says, “We should do this to change JINS.” There might be a lot of people who are going to take action once they find out they can do whatever they want to do to enhance the value of JINS because they just don’t know that they are able to take action for JINS thus far.

―Too much focusing on a national brand,
a force to incubate a new value may have been faded.(Sato)

Sato/It's important for JINS to provide the same service all over Japan as a national brand. Yet, not just only providing the mean service for everyone, a driving force, which JINS originally owns to incubate a new thing and has led JINS to grow big, is now truly needed. Today, that force may have tended to fade from the on-site.

Before, our CEO said, “You can do whatever you want as long as that is for customers and will connect a company’s profit and staff’s rewarding.” Even so, we might have been reluctant by thinking too much or making barriers by ourselves as bad habits in Japanese. Thank you very much Ishii, for overcoming such common sense and barriers without hesitation!

Ishii/I think it’s great that JINS has this kind of corporate culture, which you say, “I want to do this” and JINS answers, “Go ahead.” While thinking in this conversation, I feel JINS still retains many strong powers.

―Incubate ideas to boost better customer experiences
through generating horizontal connections independently.(Ishii)

Sato/From now on, I would like to discover hidden possibilities through trial and error while proactively communicating with Ishii. It’s going to be great if we could improve each other by mutually recognizing the good in both.
Thanks for your future support as well, Ishii!

Ishii/Thanks! I’m very much looking forward to working together continuously too. Let’s incubate ideas to boost better customer experiences with both stores Think Lab and JINS through generating horizontal connections independently.

Comments from Think Lab&JINS staff

Nagahama
Think Lab Business Group, JINS JP (Japan Division)

As Think Lab, we started thinking about what we can do to enhance our Think Lab presence in our customers even amid the COVID-19 epidemic. Under such circumstance, through a trigger that we would like to provide special experiences at Think Lab as a trial visit for customers who are waiting to receive their ordered glasses at JINS around Think Lab, this mutual customer transferring project flourished with all cooperation from an area director Sato and the staff of JINS Ginza LOFT and JINS Yurakucho Marui. Due to teleworking and avoiding unnecessary outings, I received lots of voices from my team members and clients that they have difficulties switching their mood because of spending a long time at home. I would be happy if more and more people would feel the importance of spending time alone with themselves through the experiences at Think Lab.

Sugiuwa(New Graduate 2020)
JINS Ginza LOFT, JINS JP (Japan Division)

In this project, it’s quite important that all store staff have the same level of knowledge of Think Lab and convey it to our customers. Therefore, I made a document containing the experiences of an actual Think Lab tour and answers from interviews with members at HQ, and shared it with our staff who couldn’t attend the actual tour. Plus, we had originally planned to deliver the advantages of Think Lab to our customers who came to a JINS store at the time of reception, however, we modified its timing of an eye test or checkout when we can have time to surely convey the advantages. I have been interested in Think Lab even before I joined JINS, so this project is a fuel to me that made me more motivated and fun to work every day because I can deliver the outstanding advantages of Think Lab to our customers.

Nakamura(SD)
JINS Yurakucho Marui, JINS JP (Japan Division)

For customers who came to our JINS store, while keeping it short and straightforward, I announced Think Lab to them to let expand their imagination. I crafted a way to convey the benefits of Think Lab to induce a customer to visit, like Think Lab is not just as a working space, but a customer also enjoys a Starbucks coffee in there. In fact, I received a voice from a customer who visited Think Lab said “That place is so wonderful” and I was happy to hear that, and also received a voice from a customer who hasn’t visited Think Lab yet said “I would like to visit Think Lab on my telework day because I can’t concentrate at home.”

Store Information of Think Lab&JINS

Think Lab Ginza

Think Lab develops and operates workspaces with a concept of “a place where you can concentrate the most in the world.”
Think Lab Ginza opened in July 2020 with a concept of “a place where a worker can get absorbed” by collaborating with Starbucks.

Address: 2F CIRCLES GINZA, 3-7-6 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo
MAP >
Business hours:7:00~20:00
(Store hours may vary.)

More information >

JINS Ginza LOFT

JINS Ginza LOFT has a unique and playful interior design decorated with steel shelf furniture placing kitchen sponges to put eyeglasses on.

Address:6F Ginzavelviakan, 2-4-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
MAP >
TEL:03-3535-7668
Business hours:11:00~21:00
(Store hours may vary.)
Parking lot:Available
※Please check the official website for the parking fee and services.

More information >

JINS Yurakucho Marui

JINS Yurakucho Marui features feminine and intellectual designs. Both stores are located in Ginza area and attract a wide range of customers from office workers to shoppers.

Address:5F Yurakucho Marui 2-7-1, Yuurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo MAP >
TEL:03-6738-1677
Business hours:11:00~20:30
(Store hours may vary.)
Parking lot: Available
※Please check the official website for the parking fee and services.

More information>

※The contents of this article are the information on services and initiatives provided in Japan.

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