What Is So Cool About Burberry’s Regent Street Store?
Its design philosophy underlines that ‘out with the old, in with the new’ is clearly not an adage Burberry believes in. The woven gabardine trench coat, introduced by Thomas Burberry in 1879, is going through a reinvention in detail with a service that now allows for personalisation, in-store and online. Like the monogrammed poncho from 2014 which experienced unprecedented success, the trench coat can now also be embroidered with a customer’s initials and before choosing your mix of colours, you can see the results of the branding in real time through a responsive monogramming tool that allows you to view what the combination of your choice will finally look like. The approved selection is sent to Castleford in northern England where these coats have historically been produced and there you have it — the perfect partnership between the old and new. The trench is truly celebrated at Regent Street, where videos and imagery highlight the traction provided by www.artofthetrench.com, the brand’s social media platform — an effective and inventive way of creating recall value for a much-loved icon.
The same principles of detail are being applied via the scarf bar as well. More than 30 hues and 30 embroidery mixes form the basis of this bar; the cashmere stoles present a colourful display, encouraging the kid-in-a-candy-store concept. Pick your scarf, choose the shade that best connects with your initials and voila — you now own a piece customised exactly like the one Cara Delevingne wraps herself in. As with the trench, the scarf customisation is offered both on the shop floor as well as the Burberry portal.
In June 2015, Thomas’s cafe opened its doors at the store’s Vigo Street entrance (just around the corner from the main walk-in at Regent Street). This charming British tea shop and snack bar is Burberry’s way of saying “come in, relax, make yourself at home”. From big English breakfasts that include poached eggs, salmon and bacon along with piping hot crumpets and a traditional lunch of lobster and chips, Thomas’s aromatic ground-floor space is ideal for some leisurely unwinding. Walk up the spiral staircase to their cocktail and canapé area, where you can browse through a selection of gifts while sipping on some much-needed champagne (shopping’s most recommended companion). Home products comprising throws, blankets, cushion covers and candles (Green Dew boasts of a name and fragrance that is as familiar as it is unique) vie for attention with notebooks, diaries, desk accessories as well as travel necessities — luggage, passport covers and more. Quaint gaming choices like dice, backgammon and dominoes hit the spot, especially when combined with Burberry-clad showpieces. The collections are updated every season and the packaging is as exclusive as the gifts themselves — a wrapping station stands tall in the centre, laden with wrapping papers (the embossing machine adds the customised touch you may be expecting by now) and ribbons and gift cards. Swing by and complete your holiday shopping in one quick swoop, exactly as predicted by Burberry. Clever, clever.
Innovation is consistent here, no matter how small the product. Choose your nail paint by simply placing your colour of choice on a magnetised board that immediately reads the coding and shows on screen how the hue translates on wearing. Take a whiff of the perfume that caught your eye and place it on another board after punching in your initials and Burberry will create a delightful video around your name tag, before proceeding to emboss the initials onto your little flacon.
The physical and virtual are two sides of the same coin at Regent Street. Bespoke sections, and in-house tailoring are much-valued services, demanded and offered, taken a step further with your shopping history, preferences and suggestions logged in under your account. The shopping staff simply browses through your data on iPads to make your trip to the store as time-efficient as possible.
From a brand that, in the past, had plummeted to a point of same-old staidness, it has today completely metamorphosed into the epitome of cool. Five hundred speakers and 100 screens across the store remind you of this transformation at all hours of the day, as they splash the space with emotive content and live screenings. A suspicious-sounding RFID chip is actually an ingenious device that allows every product in-store to be dissected in detail; place it against its designated screen and you have a three-dimensional viewing of every aspect, stitch and proportion to help you make a more informed purchase.
It’s not all work, no play. Burberry knows how to have fun and it welcomes guests to the store by the hordes to its programmes that could veer anywhere between concerts, screenings, live talks and more.
At the core of it all, there’s still heart and soul and people. All the technology in the world cannot replace the impact of human interaction; click-to-call and click-to-chat will ensure the best customer service on www.burberry.com. And as Christopher Bailey’s band soars, so will the Burberry Foundation, a philanthropic initiative that focusses on educating and imparting skill. No operating system can beat that.