Announcement of a Digital Marketing Solution: Connecting Railway Stations and Stores along Railroad Lines for Effective and Seamless Delivery of Personalized, Beneficial Information to Chubu Area Consumers

ITOCHU Corporation and Meitetsu Announce Innovative Digital Marketing Collaboration for Enhanced Consumer Engagement

September 22, 2023

ITOCHU Corporation, headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo, and led by President & COO, Keita Ishii, is proud to announce a strategic partnership with Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd. (Meitetsu), headquartered in Nagoya-shi, Aichi, and under the leadership of President Hiroki Takasaki. Together, they are set to introduce a groundbreaking digital marketing solution that bridges railway stations and stores along railroad lines, streamlining the delivery of personalized and beneficial information to consumers in the Chubu area.

Key Agreement Details

ITOCHU Corporation and Meitetsu have formalized an agreement to collaboratively develop a new marketing solution designed to deliver tailored information to residents along their daily travel routes within Meitetsu's service areas. This strategic alliance leverages the deep industry knowledge and direct consumer interactions of both organizations to explore and implement cutting-edge marketing strategies based on consumer data.

Background and Rationale for Collaboration

ITOCHU Corporation has been at the forefront of retail media*1 development within the ITOCHU Group. Working in tandem with its subsidiary, FamilyMart Co., Ltd., as well as Data One Corp. and Gate One Corp., ITOCHU has successfully established digital advertising and signage advertising businesses driven by purchase data. In recent years, the company has expanded one of Japan's largest retail media networks in partnership with its alliance retailers. This network enables ITOCHU to refine a business model that delivers advertisements with maximum effectiveness and minimal friction, both within stores and along consumers' daily travel routes, both pre- and post-store visits. The impact of these advertisements on consumer purchasing behavior is meticulously assessed across various retail businesses.

Meitetsu, a significant player in the transportation sector, owns a 444.2-kilometer railway network that primarily covers Aichi and Gifu prefectures. Beyond its core transportation services, Meitetsu is actively engaged in lifestyle and tourism offerings, playing a pivotal role in the Chubu area's transportation network. The company operates transportation advertising services, including signage within stations, the regional MaaS App CentX*2, and other related services. These efforts contribute significantly to public transportation utilization and the revitalization of the regions they serve. Meitetsu collaborates closely with local commercial facilities, municipal governments, tourist attractions, and other organizations. Moreover, Meitetsu employs advanced marketing analysis techniques, leveraging data from various Meitetsu Group companies.

Strategic Initiatives and Implementation

With a primary focus on consumers' daily travel routes, encompassing railway stations as integral transportation infrastructure and commercial establishments as essential elements of everyday life, ITOCHU and Meitetsu are poised to implement initiatives aimed at delivering timely and relevant information to Chubu area consumers. Key strategies include the deployment of beacons*3 at FamilyMart stores within the ITOCHU Group and Meitetsu's station facilities. This technological advancement enables the delivery of push notifications showcasing various products and services, including the CentX app and Meitetsu μ’s Card*4, owned by Meitetsu, as well as coupons offering savings at FamilyMart stores. Rigorous evaluation of this service's impact on customer store visits and overall marketing effectiveness will be conducted. Furthermore, the organizations intend to gain a comprehensive understanding of consumers' shopping journeys, purchasing behaviors, and activities before and after shopping trips. This insight will empower them to deliver information that aligns better with consumers' interests at optimal locations along their daily travel routes and at the most opportune times.

This initiative is expected to drive increased customer traffic to FamilyMart stores, bolster the adoption of Meitetsu services, and attract customers to locations owned by various local partners. Through the culmination of these verifications and considerations, the ITOCHU Group and Meitetsu aspire to seamlessly connect residents within Meitetsu's service areas with providers of transportation, lifestyle, tourism services, and local partners. This ambitious initiative aims to contribute significantly to regional revitalization in the Chubu area.

Key Solutions Overview

  • *1 Retail Media
    Retail media is an emerging advertising paradigm that has gained significant traction in recent years due to the digital transformation (DX) of the retail industry. It involves retail businesses leveraging their stores and proprietary data for advertising purposes. This innovative approach aligns advertising strategies with consumer preferences, making it a focal point of marketing in the retail sector. Notably, the United States leads the way in the retail media industry, with a market size of approximately 4.0 trillion yen (about USD 31 billion) in 2021. Projections indicate robust growth, with an average annual expansion rate of 23%, potentially reaching approximately 7.2 trillion yen (about USD 55 billion) by 2024 (Source: Insider Intelligence Inc., "US Digital Retail Media Ad Spending," 2022).
  • *2 Regional MaaS App CentX
    Meitetsu is spearheading a regional Mobility as a Service (MaaS) initiative known as CentX. This comprehensive platform aims to seamlessly integrate transportation, lifestyle, and tourism services within the Meitetsu Group's service area, primarily covering Aichi and Gifu prefectures. CentX offers a suite of valuable features, including the Point Search and Multi-modal Route Search functionalities. These tools empower users by providing optimal transportation options. Additionally, CentX offers a web-based ticketing system, simplifying the process of purchasing and paying for various tickets. By uniting these services, CentX transforms the local transportation landscape into a stress-free, interconnected ecosystem, providing essential information to support the needs of the community. For more details, please visit CentX's official website .
  • *3 Beacon
    Beacon technology is a key component of this innovative initiative. A beacon is a compact Bluetooth transmitter that employs the iBeacon standards for Bluetooth Low Energy radio waves. This technology enables the precise delivery of information to smartphones equipped with compatible apps, under specific conditions. By leveraging beacon technology, ITOCHU and Meitetsu enhance their ability to interact with consumers and deliver timely and relevant information along their daily travel routes.
  • *4 Meitetsu μ’s Card and Meitetsu μ’s Points
    The Meitetsu μ’s Card represents a credit card solution that offers users a convenient method to accumulate and utilize Meitetsu μ’s Points. These points enhance everyday life by providing benefits based on users' spending. Users earn one point for every 200 yen spent, including tax. Certain partner stores even offer preferential benefits, granting users up to 10% extra Meitetsu μ’s Points. Accumulated points can be used to recharge the manaca card and make purchases at Meitetsu Department Stores, at an exchange rate of one yen per point. This versatile card becomes an essential companion for daily transactions, offering valuable deals and ease of use.

Company Information

ITOCHU Corporation

Head office 2-5-1 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Established December 1, 1949
Representative Keita Ishii, President & COO
Main Business Domestic trading, import/export and third-country trading of various products such as textiles, machinery, metals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, information and finance, as well as business investments in Japan and overseas.

Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd.

Head office 1-2-4 Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi
Established June 13, 1921
Representative Hiroki Takasaki, President
Main Business Railroad/tramway business, development business