Burberry teams with Tencent to launch world-first social-retail store

Luxury fashion label Burberry has teamed with technology giant Tencent to launch its first social retail store in Shenzhen, China.

Located in the new Shenzhen Bay MixC development, the Burberry social store features a unique design with a variety of materials and textures ranging from plywood to mirror and high-gloss finishes. Occupying a 539sqm area, the store houses 10 different rooms. 

The Burberry social store offers a wide range of items including the brand’s latest collections and pieces exclusive to the Shenzhen store. All the stock is labelled with QR codes which when scanned show information on the customer’s digital screen. This is the brand’s first store to have QR codes on product swing tags.

When entering the store, customers are welcomed by an interactive window. Inspired by the brand’s mirrored runway, the window illustrates the visitors’ shape and response to body movement. The window changes through the seasons to reflect the latest collections and house codes.

Burberry’s fitting rooms feature three different concepts reflecting the label’s house codes – the Burberry Animal Kingdom, Reflections and the Thomas Burberry Monogram.

Named after the fashion house’s founder, Thomas’s Cafe features a modern yet elegant design with high-gloss tones of beige, curtains and chamfered mirroring. The cafe can be converted into a community space for social events such as workshops, exhibitions and live performances.

The social store also houses a Trench Experience space, designed with digital technology to “bring Burberry’s heritage of exploration to life and creating unique and personal content for the customer to share on social media”.

“This store explores this relationship, blending the digital and the physical realms in an exciting new concept,” said Riccardo Tisci, chief creative officer at Burberry. 

“I wanted to bring this love of the outdoors to life through all the elements of the store, which can be seen in the Burberry Animal Kingdom prints in the cafe as well as in the fully immersive Trench Experience and even in the small details of the design materials. I really wanted to draw upon these familiar house codes to bring our community together in an interactive journey of discovery,” Tisci said.

“When it came to innovating around social and retail, China was the obvious place to go to, as home to some of the most digitally savvy luxury customers,” said Marco Gobbetti, CEO at Burberry. 

The Burberry social retail store offers an interactive experience through Tencent’s WeChat mini program which allows customers to unlock exclusive content and personalised experiences. 

“… Burberry’s social retail store in Shenzhen is a place of discovery that connects and rewards customers as they explore online and in store. It marks a shift in how we engage with our customers and we can’t wait to share this innovative experience with the world,” Gobbetti said. 

The mini program also provides a platform where customers can explore the store and product, book in-store appointments, and reserve events or tables in the Thomas cafe and community space.

The WeChat mini program also features a rewards program called “social currency” where customers are allocated characters and can engage with others. Customers can unlock exclusive content and personalised experiences by building their social currency. Rewards range from cafe menu items to mini program content.

The Burberry social retail store is a unique space to test and learn, and to trial innovation that can be expanded to the rest of the Burberry network in China, the company said in a statement.

Burberry signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Tencent last year to develop social retail in China. The Shenzhen social store is the first step in the partnership, taking interactions from social media into a physical retail environment. 


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