Opened officially on July 31, the 5,800-square-feet store promises to bring the best of both physical and social worlds together in a digitally immersive retail experience.
The future of luxury retail has been in question ever since the dawn of the coronavirus pandemic – some say even before then. Well, now Burberry is offering insight into what could be the answer, or at least one form of it: social retail stores.
Together with Chinese tech giant Tencent, the British luxury label has launched a first-of-its-kind social retail store in China’s tech hub, Shenzhen. Opened officially on July 31, the 5,800-square-feet store promises to bring the best of both physical and social worlds together in a digitally immersive retail experience – or what it calls “a store of tomorrow for today”.
Stepping inside the store in Shenzhen Bay MixC development will find you in the Burberry world of mixed materials and textures in a palette of beige, pistachio, pink and blue. Riccardo Tisci’s interpretations of the brand’s house codes spruce up the space, taking the shape of the iconic Thomas Burberry Monogram, the classic Trench Coat, Nature and the Burberry Animal Kingdom.
The store is comprised of 10 uniquely designed rooms/spaces, the first of which to greet customers is the interactive store window that offers the foremost digital experience. The window is said to evolve through the seasons to reflect the latest collections – currently emulating the mirrored runway from the Burberry Autumn/ Winter 2020 runway show, “Memories”.
The Burberry Shenzhen store
An interactive store window greets customers at the entrance of the Burberry Shenzhen store
Burberry house codes colour the store interiors in a palette of beige, pistachio, pink and blue
The WeChat mini program features playful animal characters to offer fun, engaging experiences within the physical and virtual realms of the store
The Trench Experience is an exclusive space customers can unlock as they build their social currency via The WeChat Mini Program
Thomas's Cafe offers a dedicated space for the Burberry community to connect
There are three distinctively designed fitting rooms at the Burberry Shenzhen store...
...each reflecting Burberry house codes while providing an exclusive try-on experience for customers
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Complementing the retail experience is The WeChat Mini Program, specially developed in partnership with Tencent to offer exclusive content and personalised features including store tours and product information. Customers can use the platform to make in-store appointment bookings and table reservations of Thomas’s Café. The mini program also includes a social currency, which users can explore to unlock playful animal characters and outfits as well as exclusive rewards from additional content to café menu items.
Speaking of which, the high-gloss, beige-toned café offers a dedicated space for the Burberry community to connect over a modern fusion of English and Chinese tea culture. Named after the brand’s founder, Thomas Burberry, the café can also be utilized as a community space for private events including talks, workshops, exhibitions and live performances.
Even the fitting rooms are designed to provide an exclusive try-on experience, with each of the three rooms featuring its own dedicated library of playlists. Customers can use the mini program to book their preferred fitting room.
Commenting on the store’s launch, Marco Gobbetti, Chief Executive Officer at Burberry, said: “Together with Tencent, we have pioneered a new concept that will redefine expectations of luxury retail. The first step in an exclusive partnership between our companies, Burberry’s social retail store in Shenzhen is a place of discovery that connects and rewards customers as they explore online and in store. It marks a shift in how we engage with our customers and we can’t wait to share this innovative experience with the world.”
“Through the partnership with Burberry, we hope to provide our contribution in the upgrading of luxury retail, improving the quality of people’s lives, and promoting sustainable development, through which we hope to ultimately support maximising the social value,” added Martin Lau, President of Tencent.
Considering how China is home to some of the most digitally savvy luxury consumers, this is a positive step forward for Burberry – and the rest of the luxury fashion industry will no doubt soon follow suit. If this is the future of retail stores, we’re looking forward to experiencing it on our own shores.