Can 'social retail' future-proof the luxury fashion industry?


  • Style
  • Monday, 03 Aug 2020

A "social retail store" has opened in Shenzhen, China, taking interactions from social media and bringing them into a traditional retail environment. Photo: Burberry

The fashion industry has been forced to embrace digital solutions in a pandemic-ridden world. Fashion weeks are now largely an online affair, with runway shows being watched on screen.

A number of luxury watchmakers have even attempted to digitised their retail presence. A valiant effort indeed, looking at the fact that Swiss watchmaking is as traditional as it comes.

What's next? Well, consumers can now shop for their latest wardrobe essentials in a store combining both a physical presence and a social media experience.

An innovative Burberry boutique in Shenzhen, China, opened its doors on July 31. Dubbed a "social retail store", it takes interactions from social media and brings them into a traditional retail environment.

Powered by China's Tencent, it aims at inspiring and entertaining luxury shoppers – where they can interact with products in new and exciting ways.

Through a dedicated WeChat mini programme, a person can unlock exclusive content and personalised experiences, as well as share them with friends.

Read more: Is Animal Crossing’s virtual world now the new fashion week?

"Through the partnership with Burberry, we hope to provide our contribution in the upgrading of luxury retail, improving the quality of people’s lives, and promoting sustainable development, through which we hope to ultimately support maximising the social value, ” Tencent's president Martin Lau said in a press statement.

The new boutique is made up of a series of spaces for customers to explore. Each has its own concept and personality and offers a unique interactive experience. It is being branded as "luxury's first".



Other fashion brands have recently unveiled virtual showrooms too. Although, those offer a sole digital presence – with special multimedia content and broadcast.

Italian clothing company Liu Jo launched a dedicated website that follows the format of a news programme. Diesel’s new online site allows shoppers to explore a virtual store, modelled on its flagship in Milan.

The new Burberry boutique in Shenzhen is thus seen as a fresh avenue for luxury fashion to weather a changing retail landscape, especially in a Covid-19 world.

"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," stated Burberry's CEO Marco Gobbetti.

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fashion , Covid-19 , Burberry , Diesel , Tencent

   

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