5 Fantastic Services in Japanese Department Stores | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

5 Fantastic Services in Japanese Department Stores

By Yae Feb 27, 2018

This post is also available in: Russian Thai Vietnamese Portuguese (Brazil)


If you’re living in Japan or came to Japan as a tourist, have you ever gone shopping at Japanese department stores, such as the major shopping centers Mitsukoshi, Takashimaya, Seibu, Isetan, etc.?
These department stores are what we call “High-class department stores” in Japan, and you can receive special fantastic services in these kind of department stores.

The prices they sell products for, honestly, are not so reasonable. However, the services you can get from these department stores are “The best and first-class, like hotels”, and this article will show you what kind of services you can receive.
Are you already feeling interested to experience these high-class services?
Let’s first take a look so you know what services are available and what to expect.


1. Special Elevator Operating Staff at All Times

What if you have a lot of shopping bags in both hands, but need to get in the elevator and you struggle to select the floor you need to go to?

There are special elevator operators in the high-class department stores in Japan, such as:

・Takashimaya in Nihonbashi
・Seibu Ikebukuro in Ikebukuro
・Matsuzakaya in Ueno
・Daimaru in Shinsaibashi

We normally call these people as “Elevator girls” in Japanese.
Elevator girls always stay in the elevators and wait for customers to get in and out.
Their job is leading customers safely inside the elevators, and push the floor buttons for all customers.
They pay attention to the timing of the closing doors as well, even if there are a lot of people using the elevator, to avoid anyone getting anything stuck in the elevator doors.


It may be a small thing to push the buttons on the elevators for you, but these elevator girls’ support can be helpful!


2.Free Gift-wrapping Service



How do you feel when you receive a gift which is beautifully wrapped?
Everyone would feel happy and might have a small sense of luxuriousness, and become excited to open the gift.
However, trying to make the gift-wrapping gorgeous by yourself can be a daunting task. Many of you may be a little concerned about the extra fee for the gift wrapping service, trying to stay on a budget.

There is a special service at the high-class department stores where they wrap your purchases for free, and they even give you as many extra bags as you need.
These extra bags are for the people who want to give a gift with the bag, as well as the present.


3.Plastic Cover on your Shopping Bags in Case of Rain

What if you buy a special gift for someone, but it suddenly started raining outside and you need to walk a while to get to the station?
What if you have an umbrella with you but the rain is falling at an angle and still getting you and your present wet?

There is a special service at the high-class department stores where the staff will cover your special gift with a plastic cover, protecting it from the rain, and asking you with a smile,

“Would you like a plastic cover on your shopping bag?”

How can they know it’s raining, even when they’re staying inside the department store all day without looking outside? There is a little business trick that rain announcement music (BGM) plays if it rains outside automatically.
Once the department store staff hear this BGM, they are informed that it’s raining outside so they should start to ask customers immediately if they would like a cover.

How would you feel if you heard the following announcement while shopping?

 “It is now raining. All staff, please start asking customers if they would like plastic covers on their purchases immediately.”


Many of you may be a little disappointed when you hear this pushy announcement.
However, if the business connects this with music, customers won’t notice the announcement and will keep shopping without disruption. The BGM may be a famous song such as Singin’ in the Rain, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, etc. anything related to rain.


The advantage of buying gifts from this kind of high-class department stores is that the staff will take care of your purchased items even after you have already finished payment.



4. Bow Deeply to Welcome you with a Full Appreciation



Don’t you wish you could sometimes feel like a VIP? Like everyone admires you, and you’re someone of high status?

There is a special service at the high-class department stores in which the staff bows to all of the customers when the department stores open.
For instance, when customers enter the department store at the opening time – 10:00 am, all the department store staff welcomes you by bowing and saying, “Thank you for coming to our department store” with warm appreciation.


Around New Year’s, some department store staff is wearing Kimono when welcoming you to the department store.


5. Free Bag Storage While You Shop



What if you need to go shopping at the different stores at once because you don’t have many days off to shop? What if you already bought way more than you expected to at one department store, and you still need to go somewhere else and you’re planning on buying even more things?

There is a special service at the high-class department stores in which they can temporarily keep your purchased items in a bag storage room for you while you continue shopping.
You still shop with ease despite having purchased tons of things.


Now you know what kind of special services you can get at certain high-class department stores in Japan. Are these services available to you in your own home country?
These special services maximize the department stores’ “Customer Service” to satisfy customers and make them want to come back and shop there again.

What kind of shops do you usually visit and feel you want to go back and shop there another time?
Not only the ones selling good products, but also you feel like the customer service is exemplary, right?

How about taking a look at a few high-class department stores in Japan? You may start to feel like you’re shopping where the VIP’s go!