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Social Retail: Nike And Burberry Introduce Digital-Driven Stores

Siim Pettai

Siim Pettai, Writer
@uxconnections

The mainstream adoption of technology is changing the way retailers interact with consumers. Simply offering branded content isn’t enough anymore.

Instead, brands are under pressure to create immersive multi-channel experiences for consumers. Yet, it is important that these experiences also have an emotional appeal.

An emerging store concept that fits the needs of digital-savvy millennials and Gen Z is social retail.

What is Social Retail?

Social retail is a concept that combines physical retail with the latest technologies. It rewards consumers for what they already love doing – sharing products and experiences. The concept allows brands to offer experiences that let consumers interact with their products on social media.

Burberry’s Social Retail Store In Shenzhen

One of the most recent examples of social retail is a store launched by Burberry in Shenzhen, China. The 5800-square-foot store invites customers to access content via their smartphones. 

Developed in partnership with tech giant Tencent, the store relies on the Chinese messaging app WeChat. Through the app’s mini program, users can browse and learn more about Burberry’s products. What is more, users can also book in-store appointments, table reservations at the in-store café and community space.

The way the concept works is simple. The more the user interacts with Burberry’s content, the better their shopping experience becomes. The WeChat mini program allows users to collect social currency. This can be used to unlock exclusive experiences and rewards. Some of the rewards include exclusive cafe menu items, as well as WeChat mini program content. Burberry’s in-store merchandise is labeled with QR codes that connect to digital screens. By scanning the codes, users can unlock new content and earn social currency.

Commenting on the new store, Davis Lin, Senior Vice President at Tencent, said that by connecting social and retail environments, they will create innovative experiences that help brands build deeper connections with consumers. This lays the ground for the long-term growth of retailers.

Nike Introduces Digital-Focused Store Concept In China

Another digital concept store was recently introduced by athleticwear brand Nike. The company launched a new store concept called Nike Rise. Located in Guangzhou, the digitally-focused store curates a personalised experience for consumers.

The store relies on the Nike mobile app, which recently got a new feature called Experiences. The feature connects Nike Members of the city to sports-related activities. These events include basketball games and football matches. Consumers will also gain access to in-store workshops and events hosted by Nike’s local athletes. According to Cathy Sparks, Vice President of Global Nike Direct Stores, the main purpose of the store is to unite communities across Guangzhou. Using the power of sports, consumers are invited to experience a digital journey that connects them to the energy of the city.

The UX Connections View

Chris Sainsbury
Managing Director

In the retail environment – both in-store and online – an enjoyable and seamless user experience is vital. Consumers are always looking for a friction-free, multichannel way to explore buying decisions and make purchases – of course with maximum options and flexibility in the returns and refunds process. At UX Connections we practice user-centred design to maximise conversions and customer satisfaction.

Another feature of the store includes a Nike By You personalization bar. The feature will allow consumers to personalise items straight from the Nike app. Consumers can add a personal touch to garments such as jerseys and t-shirts with various design elements.

Social Opens Up New Opportunities For Retailers

For retailers, combining social with commerce provides many benefits. By inviting consumers to browse products via social, retailers can build better relationships with customers and boost retention. What is more, using social allows retailers to reach a bigger audience. Customers can easily share products and recommend them to their friends. This drives more authentic engagement and traffic for retailers.

Connie Chan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, says that in the future, retailers might look more like social apps than traditional stores. She foresees a shopping revolution happening, with traditional brick-and-mortar stores being combined with e-commerce, social media and even gamification.

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