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Burberry opened its first “social retail” store in China

This quarter, luxury fashion brand Burberry opened its first “social retail” store in China. Created in partnership with Tencent, Burberry’s 5,800 square foot store combines a physical store experience with a digital one (via its new WeChat mini-program). All of the store’s merchandise contains a tag with a QR code; the more codes are scanned and the more the customer interacts with Burberry, the more ‘social currency’ the customer receives. This includes being able to bring a digital animal character to life, access exclusive items from the cafe, and enter the “Trench Experience” (a special room where shoppers can try on Burberry’s signature trench coats and create online content). Via the mini-program, customers can contact customer service, receive exclusive content, share their own content, book a preferred fitting room (with adjustable lighting and a special playlist) and more. 

Yes, consumers are excited to return to the shops. In 20 countries, 52% of Gen Z-ers are eager to visit brick-and-mortar stores ASAP, along with 55% of millennials – two age groups Burberry is targeting with this initiative. But that doesn’t mean retail brands should just throw up a couple of social distancing and hygiene measures, and expect that to be enough to bring customers back. Now, in-person experiences need to offer something extra. Something worth getting on your mask and getting out of the house for!

One way to do that? Well, according to Burberry’s senior VP of digital commerce, “This store is about trying to connect your online life with your in-store life so that one adds value to the other.”

So get inspired by Burberry and create a blended experience: one combining the brick-and-mortar consumers crave with the digital interactions they’ve become accustomed to (especially while stuck indoors). And then, to really make your brand stick in consumers’ minds? Make it personalized. Burberry’s entire setup gives shoppers a chance to express themselves, and truly shape their own experience at the store – even down to the lighting in their fitting room!

On a final note: Burberry, like many businesses, is not in the best position right now. The brand announced in July that its sales have dropped 45% due to COVID. Yet the company still moved forward with this elaborate social retail offering to meet their young customers’ desires. How can you continue to innovate, even (or especially!) when you’ve fallen on hard times?

Stay healthy,

The TrendWatching content team