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Brief Published: 16 Jul 2018

Does Harvey Nichols Know What Luxury Fashion Consumers Want?

Harvey Nichols

Department stores are facing a challenging time. To maintain its allure among other intriguing ventures, British retailer Harvey Nichols has refurbished its womenswear department to cater to modern luxury consumers.

The intimacy, sense of exclusivity and personal service standards of a luxury boutique are at the heart of the department’s redesign. Located on the first floor, the 22,000 sq ft space challenges the norm and deliberately moves away from traditional branded shop fits. Modular in its design, the open-plan space is furnished in marble, textured glass, pale blue timber and raw steel. Exposed original windows introduce natural light, adding a sense of domesticity.

All represented brands were invited to co-create the space, adding ‘soft touches’ such as furniture and décor. This soft personalised approach cleverly taps into the booming consumer interest in brand storytelling, to the extent that it’s almost as important as the actual process of buying products – something we’ve explored in Reengineering Exclusivity and Next-Level Department Store Strategies.

Chris Dewar Dixon, founder of British agency StudioFourIV, which designed the department, said: “It’s important to create a shopping environment where there’s more than a rack of clothes. The idea of intellectual shopping is becoming more important, and brands able to introduce additional value to the shopping experience are winning.”

There’s also an emphasis on improved service in Harvey Nichols’ new department. Consumers are rewarded for time spent in-store and online, while knowledgeable Style Advisers are on hand to offer advice on products, trends and styling. A digital tool by British start-up Hero (see here) gives remote online shoppers access to live-streamed guidance direct from the shop floor.