The British fashion brand Burberry has collaborated with China's tech giant Tencent to create an interactive store in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. The aim of this partnership is to make shopping a social experience and create a loyalty community for the brand.
The collaboration between Burberry and Tencent could pave the way for more interactive stores in the future, and revolutionize the consumer shopping experience.
The choice of the city of Shenzhen is not accidental
Burberry decided to launch in Shenzhen because it was the home of Tencent and because the city is known as a global technology hub.
Shenzhen has a population of over 13 million, and the average age of the population is relatively young. For Burberry, who were looking to launch their high-tech store to a population that would likely get the most out of it, this means that the Chinese city is an ideal platform.
The development of the concept of social retail
The concept of Social Retail brings interactions and engagement from social media and places them in a physical space. To do this, Burberry encourages customers to experience the store both digitally and physically.
Josie Zhang, president of Burberry China said: "We started this idea of social retail because we discovered that Chinese consumers want to be inspired. The consumers want to feel part of the community and they want to have moments to share with their friends and families either online or in real life. So this is initially what sparked us to look at what a social retail concept would look like".
How does the collaboration between Burberry and Tencent work?
Shoppers can now use the Chinese most used messaging and social media app, WeChat, to engage with the store. The store, leveraging the power of social media interactions on Wechat, allows interaction with Burberry products and the brand both digitally and in person. Through the WeChat app, digital interactions are introduced into the physical retail environment where customers can unlock exclusive content and personalized experiences through the WeChat mini programs and share it with their communities.
The Burberry social retail store in Shenzhen
Upon entering the store, users create a profile and receive a digital avatar in the form of a cartoon fawn hatching from an egg.
Using a WeChat mini program, customers can book dressing rooms, pre-select clothes and play their own music as they try them on.
The new Burberry’s first luxury social retail store in Shenzhen also includes:
- An interactive showcase representing a living sculpture, a digital experience which creates a unique moment that can be captured and shared with friends.
- All products are tagged with QR codes that connect to digital screens, further enhancing the in-store experience
- The Thomas’s café which is a space for the Burberry community to connect
The future of retail in China
These new types of stores are highly appreciated by consumers and are becoming increasingly important and functional for brands.
The social retail helps brands build deep emotional connections with consumers, and support the laying of strong foundations for the long-term growths of brands.
Josie Zhang, president of Burberry China said: "I think overall consumers are actively seeking out inspirations from brands, products stores, they are rewriting the industry rulebook. So the future of retail represents the way we market and operate a brand. So we need to be more digitized and more socially orientated, more analytical".
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