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Published 01 October 2012 05:02, Updated 04 October 2012 04:16
Digital attraction ... Burberry’s Regent Street store in London is creating an experience for consumers that is about exploring and entertainment, aiming to delight and surprise at every turn. Source: whosjack.org
High-end fashion houses, like most retail businesses, have been feeling the pinch. With pressure to extend into new markets and reach new customers, social media enabled e-commerce has become a focus for many fashion house executives. Many of the creative and business minds behind some of the global brands have been focused on attempting to balance the convenience and reach of an online shop with recreating the “magic” that made their real-world stores popular. But the really innovative brands have been taking a different approach.
In a YouTube video released in September, the chief creative of Burberry, Christopher Bailey, explained how his company is focused on the being a market leader in digital innovation. Instead of trying to embed live personal shoppers or custom sound tracks into the online experience, Burberry is bringing the best elements of Burberry.com into its new London store on Regent Street. The aim is to blend the online and offline environments to create a more immersive and intelligent brand experience.<iframe width=”646” height=”397” src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/CokbQWI_15U” frameborder=”0” allowfullscreen></iframe>
The blurring of the lines between digital and real-world experience in the store has included installing 3D live streaming hubs and an in-and-out satellite link so in-store customers can see shows anywhere in the world as they happen – and the world can see shows that happen in-store. There are floor-to-ceiling screens that wrap the entire store so it can change into a completely immersive video experience at a moment’s notice. RFID chips have been attached to many products so content showing how the product looks, how it has been made and other aspects of the product development story, can be displayed on any of the couple of hundred in-store screens. Burberry has realised that people are interested in more than just buying a product. They want to be part of the story and enjoy the experience.
Burberry realises that customer feedback and interaction are part of the creative process. Moreover, it has developed this knowledge within its online environments, so it knows content needs to be fast and responsive. The customer needs to be part of the story, not simply a passive consumer.
Burberry is clear that its online store is its main face to the world. That enables it to direct the development of real-world stores. That’s impressive. The Regent Street store is likely to be unique in the scale of its digital execution but the lessons learned will spread around the world.