Take a sit, have a rest and feel the luxury experience in a social environment – let´s talk about emotional marketing.
Have you ever thought about the meaning of luxury? If you ask for the meaning in retail, you will probably hear an answer such as: luxury is an experience. People want to spend money in a 360 degree way, and retailers are gaining a better understanding of the entire process of “buying luxury”.
The problem nowadays is that offer is bigger than demand, people have the option to buy a t-shirt in just two clicks. Customers don´t want to buy new clothes because they need them, they really want to enjoy the experience and feel the connection with the brand. On the other hand, retailers have to stand out, be unique and catch the attention of their customers, and this is when the third place appears- to make the shopping experience enjoyable.
If we really look into the meaning of the “third place” we will find the concept of the first place related to “home” and the second place, to “work”; while the third is all about interacting, as Oldenburg (1989) affirms by stating that the third places are “anchors” of community life. In other words, places where people can build a relationship with the environment and with the brand. It is also crucial to keep in mind that this term is directly linked to flagships stores.
Those unique and relevant places have been becoming a trend among luxury brands. It is not just fashion, it is about lifestyle. For instance, we can dream of sophistication and personification in Bulgari or Armani hotels. Or we can go to Regent Street in London, and have a delicious meal after seeing the new Burberry´s O/W 16 collection, inside its flagship store. But also, the third place can be a VIP room, a lounge area or just a frame that interacts with the consumer, in order to deliver brand experience.
But what happens with high street retailers adopting the same trend and attempting to simulate the same experience?
We have seen how Topshop, for example, introduced a hair salon, personal shopper service and a few food points with cupcakes and bubble tea, in order to engage customers with the brand at their Oxford Circus flagship. Or Urban Outfitters with its lounge zone close to the fitting room in most of the stores. Even Barber & Parlour, a barber shop in the middle of Shoreditch, where you can have a nice brunch while getting your hair done.
From my point of view, this is a great concept that fits all fashion levels, but there should be limits for high street retailers. They can create community spaces but not to the extent of how luxury retailers do it, since their business models are in opposite ends. Luxury aims to create a sophisticated atmosphere, while high street wishes to communicate accessibility. In some cases, timing is key to develop the relationship, and fast-fashion, as its name states, doesn’t have it to embrace it.
Pictures: Armani, Bottega Venetta, Burberry, Topshop blog, Inside retail, Tulsa World, Barber & Parlour
What do you think about the third place? did you hear about it before?
Can high street brands introduce the third place in their store concepts?
With love, C
I hope you enjoy reading this article and I promise post more often3