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Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” This phrase could actually be the definition of the concept store. Concept stores are retail models where the buying process has a different meaning and involves philosophical meaning.
The customer has opportunity not only to buy physical products but also is provided with a full emotional and sensory experience. In practice, those shops offer mix of items of different designers and brands addressed to the particular groups for example ecologically friendly, luxurious or street wear oriented customers.
The variety of products usually includes clothes, shoes, accessories, books, cosmetics, food and gadgets. It is important that all items must be united around the concept store’s philosophy which is expressed in unusual layout of the store to underline extraordinary character of products that are sold there.
In addition concept stores predestination is to be trend follower. The assumption is that after all the touching and feeling, customers will be willing to spend more money.
The experience will be associated with the store’s identity and the customer will come back in the future. This kind of retail venture has become a part of many cities’ cultural environment by offering access to art news, fashionable products, food, music and technological solutions.
One of the most popular concept stores, Collette, is located in Paris on 213 rue de Saint-Honoré. Collette offers multi-brand products (variety of brands) from clothes, books, gadgets to condoms and even food served in own restaurant. However, whole phenomenon started in New York, where Ralph Lauren opened his first flagship store in the year 1986.
Every detail of the store arrangement described brand identity and had connotations with surrounding world. That gave to the customer possibility of better shopping experience. Nowadays concept stores are located in all over the world and are adaptable to a variety of markets where determine future trends.
Concept store leitmotiv is its business card and it must be unique, unpredictable and timeless. This translates worldwide, and shoppers can experience luxurious Symphony in Dubai, Van Beirendonck’s conceptual store in Antwerp, street fashion in Tokyo Hipsters Club and Alter in Shanghai where spirit and senses meets up with high quality and unique design.
To experience Hollywod’s glamour style shoppers visit Jeffrey’s; those who seek eclectic moods and avant-garde, Dover Street Market in London is the best place to visit. Shoppers who thirst for the very latest trends from around the world and want to discover true gems of fashion before they inevitably become part of the commercial mass market should visit Moscow’s Cara&Co.
Concept stores are called to be a new type of experience. According to latest PSFK (psfk.com) Future of Retail report from 2011 specialist believes that concept stores are an answer for increasing customer’s requirements.
“Creating a personal shopping experience by empowering the customers to explore and understand what story is behind the merchandising or the marketing, lends itself to a higher level of selling opportunity” (Tim Katz, Senior Operating Manager, Pacific Sun).