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Innovative brands: From Paris to Shanghai, these store concepts are fly

Tuesday 11 June 2019 Customer ExperienceData Insight & AnalyticsProperty Development

Matthew Kemp's picture
By Matthew Kemp

With an ever-growing discourse surrounding the various challenges facing physical retail, brands are constantly looking for ways to innovate their in-store experiences. Experiential retail is a term increasingly used to describe one such way to do this, and brands across the world are introducing new concepts to revolutionise their physical retail space into more than just a store. Here are our favourites:

 

Renault - Paris

On the iconic Champs-Elysees currently sits L’Atelier Renault, the automotive brand’s international flagship with a mission to “act as a hub to highlight and provide a platform for enthusiasts, new talent, makers, start-uppers and pioneers”. Including an exhibition area, shop, restaurant and bar, the space really does accommodate for a variety of visit types. There is a dedicated area on the website to ‘plan your visit’, in line with the multitude of events that are regularly hosted across the different areas, including Live Grand Prix screenings and the ‘Easy Life Time Machine’ that celebrates Renault’s 120 years of cars and innovation.

Fans of Formula 1 are given the unique opportunity to sit behind the wheel of an authentic Renault F1 car, while the ‘Virtual Car Studio’ allows younger visitors to design their own vehicles before using augmented reality technology to drive them. Tailored advice on car purchases, along with the merchandise shop, restaurant and bar ensure that the space is still a good source of revenue for Renault, but this is still achieved in conjunction with the customer feeling as though they are at the forefront of the brand’s thinking.

 

MAC - Shanghai

While Renault have appealed to the passion of its customers towards cars, sport and innovation, other brands have chosen to focus on tackling the challenges of physical retail through understanding the shopping habits of their customers. In Shanghai, MAC Cosmetics have taken an omnichannel approach based on months of research into the makeup purchase behaviour of Generation-Z shoppers, creating an experience centre that merges both offline and online shopping in one space.

The personalised experience begins with a bespoke greeting for each shopper that logs into the ‘WeChat’ program as they enter the store, which then acts as the user interface for the rest of the visit, handling payment and collection of bespoke makeup palettes. Infrared touchscreens scan the faces of customers to suggest suitable foundation colours, while smart mirrors give shoppers the opportunity to virtually test a variety of lipstick shades. The events feature of experiential retail has not been overlooked, with the second floor offering a space for makeup classes from experts, and talks by key opinion leaders. The retail experience orchestrated in Shanghai by MAC has been completely tailored towards a key shopper group in the form of Generation-Z, and seems to understand their needs absolutely.

 

Fooby - Lausanne

In Lausanne, Switzerland, a successful digital concept has been transposed into a vibrant physical space in the form of Fooby, launched by Swiss supermarket giants Coop. What started as a highly successful online food and lifestyle platform that gathered millions of views, has now been taken offline into a store that focuses on innovation, culinary crafts and sustainable development. The site of the former Kursaal theatre offers a beautiful setting which exudes sustainable and artisanal character, giving shoppers the opportunity to be served and advised by experts. Fooby is somewhat of a culinary laboratory, playfully disguised as a supermarket.

The features of Fooby are not at all set in stone. The store is primed to regularly adapt the offer to reflect changing consumer behaviour, and perhaps a new customer base, should Fooby attract a new type of shopper. Granted, prices are towards the higher end, but its focus on supporting local producers, sustainability and quality lends itself to a shopper that is willing to spend a bit more to support these causes, which are becoming increasingly important to the consumer, whilst being pampered with fine food at the same time in a truly multifaceted retail experience.

Each of these concepts place the customer experience at the centre. CACI research shows that a happy customer is more valuable to a brand.

If you would like support in how your centre can innovate, speak to one of our experts.

With an ever-growing discourse surrounding the various challenges facing physical retail, brands are constantly looking for ways to innovate their in-store experiences.

Innovative brands: From Paris to Shanghai, these store concepts are fly