British fashion house Burberry is no stranger to pioneering concepts that involve the digital space. This is after all, the fashion house that first started live-streaming its runway shows, and also the first to introduce a see-now-buy-now retail model that disrupted the traditional fashion calendar. This year, it's set to change the physical retail environment thanks to its first partnership with Chinese tech company Tencent.
Opening on 31 July 2020 is Burberry's debut of a social retail boutique in Shenzhen, China. This first-of-its-kind model will combine the physical experience of being in a Burberry boutique with elements of social media that serves to further enhance the overall retail experience. But not only are the digital activations restricted to the boutique, the accompanying Thomas' Cafe too makes use of the technology. And all these, with the help of a mini program housed on China's WeChat platform.
A digital companion
The WeChat mini program in question is pretty much like a digital assistant for the Burberry Shenzhen Bay MixC boutique. Users will be able to engage with the boutique whether they're there physically or solely through the program. Each user will also start out with a default avatar that will represent them as they explore the digital space.
There's social currency involved
While it does sound like the beginning of a Black Mirror episode, social currency in the Burberry mini program has more to do with user engagement than social ratings. As a user becomes more active in-store and on the platform, they're able to unlock certain attributes that help to create a more exclusive experience. These include unlocking more characters to be used as avatars, outfit options to dress their avatars in, viewing content that are exclusive to the mini program, as well as a more expanded menu selection at the Thomas' Cafe.
The digital activations are designed to be shared
And to climb up that social currency ladder, there are digital activations in the boutique that will award users with points should they choose to participate. Additionally, sharing their experiences through social media will also help with gaining more rewards and unlocking advanced content. This includes access to the Trench Experience where users will be able to go on a digitally immersive journey involving Burberry's signature product.
QR codes on tags
But of course, product is first and foremost in retail. For the first time, swing tags with QR codes will be introduced on every Burberry piece in the boutique. Scanning them within the mini program will unlock additional content and a more in-depth information about the product. It's all about elevating the shopping experience to be more than what it usually is, while also immersing customers into the Burberry world from the moment they step into the boutique in Shenzhen Bay MixC.