Big In Japan: Buying Into the Unknown

Would you buy something sight unseen? Every year in Japan shoppers line up to do just that.

Each year on the first shopping day of the year, retailers put together “lucky bags” that consumers don’t get to open until they’ve been paid for. What would prompt anyone to take a chance on one of these bags? 40-60% off the items inside the bag, guaranteeing that you end up with something worth more than what you might spend on the initial purchase.

CNN shows one woman discovering a watch that was on sale for more than the price of the bag, along with a Gucci wallet and other unnamed goodies. While there’s surely a risk of ending up with anti-aging goggles or something odd, it sounds like a fun tradition and one that retailers might want to consider when trying to clear out stock.

The fit of clothes can be all over the place even within the same brand, so those are probably best left to normal sales racks and sample sales; but for overstocked accessories or makeup it would be an easy way to get a guaranteed price and clear out merchandise – think it of as Secret Santa for retailers and shoppers. Birchbox has already found a bit of success in doing something like this for makeup, so it’s probably just a matter of time before someone finds a way to turn a lucky bag into a lucky business.

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