Burberry & Tencent Open Beta Social Store in China
Luxury behemoth Burberry has opened a visually stunning, social media connected store in Shenzhen, a city widely known as China’s tech capital, in partnership with Chinese digital monolith Tencent (owner of messaging and e-commerce app WeChat). The app forms the backbone of the store, creating a phygital environment which rewards customer interactions with digital benefits.
Here’s how it works:
WeChat Micro Concierge: Customers can book in-store appointments (see also Bookable Brand Time in Resetting Physical Retail), ask to try on items, contact customer assistants and even adjust their fitting room’s lighting and music – all within the Burberry WeChat mini-program, which acts as a digital concierge service.
Product Scanning for Extra Context: Every item in the store, which was designed by British design agency Green Room, can also be scanned for extra contextualising ‘features’ – by simply scanning a QR code with their smartphones, customers to learn more about new products, view content (‘product storytelling’) and see how the product looks on a model.
In-Store Actions Feed Digital Gameplay: Each action a customer takes is rewarded on WeChat, denoted visually by the appearance and evolution of a fawn avatar (first seen in Burberry’s B Bounce game, a motif connecting to chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci’s designs). Further interactions win new characters and outfits.
More to Come?: Burberry has stated that it plans to roll out aspects of the store across China – a key battleground for luxury brands hoping to recover from the fallout of Covid-19. It’s currently testing engagement levels across all the features to discover the most successful aspects of the store.
The ubiquitous nature of WeChat in China allows Burberry to create a phygital environment hard to replicate elsewhere in the world, where consumers use a greater variety of e-commerce and messaging platforms. However, other brands including sports giants Adidas and Nike have digital ecosystems within their stores aimed at joining an increasing number of brand dots.