Burberry launches social media concept store in China

Burberry has today launched a novel luxury concept store in China that harnesses the power of social media interactions. The concept is designed to enable the interaction with Burberry products and the brand both digitally and in person, potentially indicating the way forward for in-store experiences in the future.  

Via the WeChat app, owned by tech firm Tencent, digital interactions are brought into the physical retail environment; customers are able to unlock exclusive content and personalised experiences through a WeChat mini program and share them with their communities.

The store is divided into a series of spaces for customers to explore, each offering a different interactive experience. It also encourages strong interaction with the Burberry brand and its history.

Marco Gobbetti, CEO at Burberry explained: “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 home to some of the most digitally savvy luxury customers.

Together with Tencent, we have pioneered a new concept that will redefine expectations of luxury retail. The first step in an exclusive partnership between our companies, Burberry’s social retail store in Shenzhen is a place of discovery that connects and rewards customers as they explore online and in store. It marks a shift in how we engage with our customers and we can’t wait to share this innovative experience with the world.”

The move comes as Burberry continues to invest in its digital channels as a result of changing consumer behaviours resulting from Covid-19, with the luxury fashion brand suffering a dramatic fall in sales in the crisis.

Commenting on the announcement, Elliott Jacobs, EMEA commerce consulting director at LiveArea said:  "Luxury brands that continue to rely solely upon physical interactions with their VIP customers will be left behind. Brands need to consider how to weave new digital experiences into the traditional retail experience.

"In recent years, China has led the way in embracing mobile – from superapps and social media, to mobile payments and in-store retail experiences. Burberry’s social retail concept is the next step in connecting the mobile into the physical retail world.”

Jacobs went on to say the key behind a lot of this innovation is data. Tencent, owner of superapp WeChat which is central to this type of experience, has access to extraordinary volumes of consumer data, with millions of people using WeChat to interact with brands, search and browse products, share social media content and make payments.

"Expanding the reach of these superapps into the physical world is another source of valuable data, which in-turn allows brands using the platform to tailor hyper-personalised content to their customers,” he added.

"The data gleaned will also allow Burberry to continue to optimise its physical stores, using insights in terms of popular products and browsing habits to improve the flow and layout of its stores."