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Is this how we will shop now? Burberry opens its first-ever ‘social retail store’ in China

Pooja Patel

British luxury company Burberry has created a unique concept to facilitate consumers to shop during the pandemic. In collaboration with Tencent, China’s tech giant, Burberry has opened its first ‘social retail store’ in Shenzhen.
The store is the amalgamation of the brick and mortar store experience and digital retail experience—a concept that experts believe is the future of stores. This is the first-ever such store by Burberry.
Powered by Tencent Technology, this store has opened in the high-end 80,000 sqm retail centre called the Shenzhen Bay MixC. Tencent’s WeChat social messaging platform is China’s equivalent of WhatsApp.
Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by an interactive window. The window is a living sculpture that has been inspired by the mirrored runway from the Burberry Autumn/Winter 2020 runway show Memories. It reflects the viewer’s shape and responds to body movements. 
The clothes in this one-of-a-kind store are labelled with QR codes. Customers need to scan these on the phone, which will show product information. They can access features like store tours, product details, in-store appointment bookings, dedicated client services, events and table reservations in Thomas’s Cafe. This in-store café.
Tencent has developed a custom mini-programme WeChat, which brings the store to life. The WeChat programme facilitates shoppers to read exclusive content and personalised experiences, which can be shared later on Tencent’s social media networks.
The program is sort of a bespoke digital companion that helps enhance the customer experience of the store, whether it is physically or virtually.
The store gives an option to the customers to interact with the brand and products in new and exciting ways; in person and on social media.
This venture involves the use of social currency. Consumers can earn rewards and unlock exclusive experiences if they share them on social media. So, when shoppers share a photo of their reflection in the interactive window, on their social media accounts, they receive points from Burberry.
The bigger the shopper’s network, the more frequently it is used, the more points they receive. These rewards include event invites, exclusive content and discounts on menu items from the in-store café.
Courtesy: Burberry
Courtesy: Burberry
“Burberry has always been a brand of firsts, built on a belief that creativity has the power to open spaces. We test new ideas and push the boundaries of what’s possible. When it came to innovating around social and retail, China was the obvious place to go, as it is home to some of the most digitally savvy luxury customer,” Marco Gobbetti, CEO, Burberry was quoted on the brand’s website.
Courtesy: Burberry
Courtesy: Burberry
WeChat, the customised program by Tencent Technology. Courtesy: Burberry
WeChat, the customised program by Tencent Technology. Courtesy: Burberry
Courtesy: Burberry
Courtesy: Burberry
The interactive store window. Courtesy: Burberry
The interactive store window. Courtesy: Burberry
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“I wanted to bring this love of the outdoors to life through all the elements of the store, which can be seen in the Burberry Animal Kingdom prints in the café as well as in the fully immersive Trench Experience and even in the small details of the design materials,”
Riccardo Tisci, Chief Creative Officer, Burberry, was quoted on the brand’s website.
 Thomas’s Cafe. Courtesy: Burberry
Thomas’s Cafe. Courtesy: Burberry
Reflecting Burberry’s rich heritage, the store celebrates the house codes as reinterpreted by Tisci. This includes the Trench Coat, the Thomas Burberry Monogram, Nature and the Burberry Animal Kingdom.
Courtesy: Burberry
Courtesy: Burberry
The store’s fixtures and plinths are made from materials like plywood and mirror and have a high-gloss finish. A splash of mostly pistachio, pink, beige and blue is used on the walls, along with the Thomas Burberry Monogram and the fawn print.
The 5,800 sqft store features 10 rooms and 3 fitting rooms.
Courtesy: Burberry
Courtesy: Burberry
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