With the First High-Tech "Social Retail Store" in Shenzhen, China
Burberry has announced luxury’s first “social retail store” in China’s technology hub Shenzhen, blending physical and social media worlds into a digitally immersive retail experience in what the brand describes as “a store of tomorrow for today.”
The store is powered by Tencent technology and opened in the new Shenzhen Bay MixC development on July 31, 202o. An exploration of space designed to inspire and entertain, the store allows luxury customers to interact with the brand and product in new and exciting ways, in person and on social media.
The concept store, which is the first step in Burberry’s exclusive partnership with Tencent, takes interactions from social media and brings them into a physical retail environment through a dedicated WeChat “mini program”; customers can unlock download to program to unlock exclusive content and personalized experiences, and then share them with their communities. The mini program is a bespoke digital companion tailored to enhance the way customers experience the store, whether they are there physically or virtually. It allows them to interact with exclusive content on-site, and experience store tours, products, one-to-one client conversations, in-store appointments, events, and make table reservations in the store café, Thomas’s Cafe.
The new store features fixtures and plinths constructed in a variety of materials and textures, from plywood to mirror and high-gloss finishes, with a color palette of beige, pistachio, pink and blue, as well as references to the Thomas Burberry Monogram and the fawn print. The 539 sqm/5800 sqft store features 10 rooms and a series of spaces for customers to explore, each with its own concept and personality and offers a unique interactive experience. Drawing upon Burberry’s rich heritage, the store also celebrates the house codes as reinterpreted by Riccardo Tisci, including the Trench Coat, the Thomas Burberry Monogram, Nature, and the Burberry Animal Kingdom.
The new social retail store reflects Burberry’s pioneering history of Thomas Burberry, who was an inventor and a dreamer, and reflects the brand’s ambition to continue to push boundaries through innovation and creativity. It is a unique space to test and learn, and to trial innovation that can be expanded to the rest of the Burberry network in China. The store’s features include the following:
Interactive Store Window
Upon entering the store, customers encounter an interactive window, where they discover the first digital experience. A living sculpture inspired by the mirrored runway from the Burberry Fall 2020 runway show ‘Memories’, the window reflects the viewer’s shape and responds to body movement, creating a unique moment that can be captured and shared with friends. The window evolves through the seasons to reflect the latest collections and house codes.
The WeChat ‘Mini Program’
In partnership with Tencent, Burberry has developed a custom ‘mini program’ which brings the store to life through WeChat. The mini program is a bespoke digital companion, tailored to enhance the way customers experience the store, whether they are there physically or virtually. Through it, customers can access features such as store tours and learn about products. It also provides a platform for dedicated client services, in-store appointment bookings, events and table reservations in Thomas’s Cafe, the in-store café and community space.
Customers can find Burberry’s latest collections, seasonal products and discover exclusive pieces only available to buy in the Shenzhen store. Each category has its own dedicated area and all products are labelled with QR codes that connect to digital screens, further enhancing the in-store experience. Scanning the QR code unlocks additional content and product storytelling, and contributes towards building “social currency”. This is the first Burberry store to include scannable QR codes on product swing tags, adding a digital layer of discovery.
The Burberry “Social Currency” feature within the mini-program rewards customer engagement by unlocking unexpected content and experiences. The more the customer engages with Burberry in-store and online, the richer their experience becomes. Each customer is given a playful animal character that evolves as they engage in-store and social, with new characters and outfits to discover. Rewards range from exclusive café menu items to mini program content. This effort to make the experience of retail shopping into a game is a savvy way of encouraging customers to spend more of their time and money.
The Trench Experience
As a celebration of the signature Burberry trench coat, the Trench Experience is an exclusive space that customers can unlock as they build their “social currency”. A homage to Thomas’s Burberry’s vision to create a breathable weatherproof fabric to protect against the elements, the room is designed as a digitally immersive journey through nature, bringing Burberry’s heritage of exploration to life and creating unique and personal content for the customer to share on social media. So far no images of “The Trench Experience” have been released, as this is presumably part of the store’s “exclusive content”.
The store houses three fittings rooms, each with its own unique creative concept, drawing on Burberry’s house codes: the Burberry Animal Kingdom, Reflections and the Thomas Burberry Monogram. The fitting rooms are designed to celebrate the experience of trying on Burberry product and each has a dedicated library of playlists to listen to. Customers can pre-book their preferred room through the mini program.
The store is complemented by Thomas’s Cafe, a dedicated space for the Burberry community to connect. Named after the fashion house’s founder, Thomas Burberry, Thomas’s Cafe takes inspiration from the creative codes introduced by Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci, including high-gloss tones of beige, layered curtains and chamfered mirroring. Nature and Burberry’s Animal Kingdom are also referenced throughout the space, and can be seen in the prints on the wall taken from the brand’s archives by Tisci, as well as in the bespoke tableware that is exclusive to the Thomas’s Cafe.
The menu celebrates English and Chinese tea culture with playful and modern fusion elements. The café menu can also evolve as customers engage with the WeChat mini program and their “social currency” advances, unlocking new menu items. The café is designed as a dynamic space, which can be converted into a community space for activities including talks, workshops, exhibitions, and live performances, with bookings made through the mini program.