Heritage meets digital in new flagship Burberry store

Burberry has opened a new flagship store on London’s Regent Street that mixes elegant craftmanship with digital high-tech wizardry to create a truly seductive retail experience…

Burberry has opened a new flagship store on London’s Regent Street that mixes elegant craftmanship with digital high-tech wizardry to create a truly seductive retail experience…

The store, which opened to the public last week, aims to replicate all the elements found on Burberry World, the brand’s online shopping experience, at burberry.com. Burberry has become known for its forays into digital experimentation, using Twitter and other social media sites to introduce its catwalk shows live to an online audience, for example, and also using imaginative technology in its advertising, including a recent tie-in with the Weather Channel.

The store continues this inventive use of technology in the physical space, with 500 speakers and 100 screens fitted throughout, which will show original content created in-house at Burberry, and will occasionally feature ‘disruptive digital takeovers’, when the screens and speakers synchronise across the store to show digital rain showers, for example.

There is also use of radio-frequency identification technology (RFID), where certain products, when taken into a changing room or held near certain screens, will trigger relevant catwalk footage and other filmed content to appear. All of which will make it harder to resist that purchase, naturally.

In addition, there is a digitally enhanced exhibition space on the first floor, showing vintage Burberry clothing not for sale, and in the store’s central atrium there is an events space, featuring a large screen that will show Burberry films during the day, and also be used as a backdrop for special events and music performances held in-store.

Burberry has long emphasised its Britishness in its advertising and branding, so it is appropriate that this, its largest store to date, is in London. The store, which was originally built in 1820 for Prince Regent and is Grade II listed, has been lovingly restored by the company over two years, and shows a real attention to detail. The subtle introduction of digital technology into the space demonstrates how such innovative techniques can be used alongside classic design and craftmanship without any clash of cultures. It all adds up to a shopping experience that will no doubt prove dangerously attractive to visitors.

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