Burberry on Friday announced the opening of its long-awaited social retail store in China’s technology hub Shenzhen, “blending the physical and social worlds in a digitally immersive retail experience”.
The company has worked with tech conglomerate Tencent on the store that’s in the new Shenzhen Bay MixC development to create “a space of exploration, designed to inspire and entertain luxury customers, where they can interact with our brand and product in new and exciting ways, in person and on social media”.
It said the new location takes interactions from social media and brings them into a physical retail environment and includes a dedicated WeChat mini program to offer extra features and personalization.
Burberry also said the new store "is a unique space to test and learn, and to trial innovation that can be expanded to the rest of the network in China”.
The store itself comprises a series of spaces, each with “its own concept and personality and offers a unique interactive experience”. And there’s a big focus on the house codes as reinterpreted by Riccardo Tisci, including the Trench Coat, the Thomas Burberry Monogram, Nature and the Burberry Animal Kingdom.
There’s an interactive store window that contains “a living sculpture, inspired by the mirrored runway from the Burberry AW20 runway show”. 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”.
Using QR codes, customers can find the latest collections and seasonal products and discover items that are exclusive to the store. All products are labelled with QR codes that connect to digital screens and scanning the code unlocks additional content and product storytelling within the mini program “and contributes towards building social currency”. It’s the first Burberry store to include scannable QR codes on product swing tags, adding a digital layer of discovery.
There’s also Thomas’s Cafe, the menu of which “can evolve as customers engage with the WeChat mini program and their social currency advances, unlocking new menu items”. The café has been designed so it “can be converted into a community space for activities including talks, workshops, exhibitions and live performances, with bookings made through the mini program”.
There are three fitting room areas in the store, “each with its own creative concept, drawing on Burberry’s house codes: the Burberry Animal Kingdom, Reflections and the Thomas Burberry Monogram”. They’re 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”.
And the Trench Experience that makes up part of the new offer “is an exclusive space that customers can unlock as they build their social currency”. 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”.
The WeChat mini-program that’s an important part of all this has been developed in partnership with Tencent and “brings the store to life through exclusive content and personalized experiences that can be unlocked on WeChat”. It’s a “bespoke digital companion, tailored to enhance the way customers experience the store, whether they are there physically or virtually”.
What that means in practice is features like store tours and information about products, plus dedicated client services such as in-store appointment bookings, events, and table reservations in the Cafe.
The mini-program also means customers can earn rewards through the Burberry social currency feature, unlocking exclusive content, and personalized experiences.
It's all a big deal for Burberry as it continues its transformation strategy, moves further upmarket, and also embraces tech innovation to make it stand out from the luxury crowd.