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Burberry blends physical and digital with first social retail store in China

By Huw Hughes


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Burberry has opened the doors of what it describes as “luxury’s first social retail store” in Shenzhen, China.

The store, opened on Friday, aims to “blend the physical and social worlds” - a concept the British luxury label has been progressively exploring. In early July, it launched a campaign juxtaposing a video of CGI digital avatars - one of which was Kendall Jenner - with a set of photo self portraits shot by Jenner. The label has also launched a series of digital games in the past year allowing users to win both virtual and physical rewards.

Physical meets digital

The 5,800-square-foot store is split up into 10 rooms for customers to explore and interact with, in person or through social media. Through a dedicated WeChat mini program, developed through an exclusive partnership with Tencent, shoppers will be able to earn social currency as they explore the store, which they can use to access exclusive content and personalised experiences. Each customer is given a digital animal character that evolves as they engage with in-store experiences.

The program will feature store tours and product information, and will also act as a portal for client services, such as in-store appointment bookings and events reservations.

Other features of the store include an interactive digital window at the entrance inspired by the mirrored runway from the Burberry AW20 show, Memories; a cafe - called Thomas’s Cafe; three fittings rooms, each with its own creative concept, which shoppers can pre-book through the mini program; and, of course, Burberry’s latest collections, all labelled with QR codes shoppers can scan to unlock product information.

“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,” CEO Marco Gobbetti said.

“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.”

Photo credit: Burberry

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