As Millennials herald in a new age for the partnership between creativity and consumerism, the face of luxury retail is changing. We noted in our APAC luxury forecast that this aspirational set of clients is now looking to invest in individualism. Part of this shift includes the way that boutiques accommodate their customers – experiential stores are now ever-increasing in popularity and interpretation. In China specifically, where greater action is being taken to respect an area’s legacy, such experiential stores are designed to resemble the surrounding zone and regional heritage; each shop therefore offers a unique environmental experience. Indeed, an immersive design can truly augment the consumer’s time spent in the shop.
An experiential store engages with the client through activities which cannot be emulated by ecommerce. In inviting the individual to partake in events that reflect the ethos of the label, brand loyalty is open to have greater influence. Take Lululemon, for example, whose approach to athletic apparel has adopted a way of marketing that promotes the Lululemon lifestyle as well as their products, implying that the consumer should have one to experience the other. The brand’s Cheongdam flagship store, which opened in May 2017, offers diet and meditation classes on its third floor with no additional fee. 30% of class attendees are said to make purchases after the activity, therefore proving that an emphasis on lifestyle and immersive experiences can indeed have an effect on the individual.
The Burberry store in Covent Garden takes a digital approach to experiential retail. The Burberry Beauty Box features the ‘digital chandelier’, a 16 foot long installation which promotes selected monthly looks. Visitors can also see the Digital Runway Nail Bar which allows the consumer to see what their nails would look like with a particular colour.
Whereas concept stores sell a range of curated brands and products using a projected ideal of a certain lifestyle, experiential stores immerse the client in experiences. This helps the consumer associate the particular lifestyle to the specific brand; hosting yoga classes in the Lululemon store can subsequently ingrain expectations of yoga apparel. This new wave of retail interpretation is a worthy competitor of the online commerce industry that has recently threatened to overtake traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.