Clothing brand that sells food? Designer of a luxury line who opens his or her coffee shop? Companies from the fashion and beauty which sell lifestyle magazines? This is nothing new in the business. Multitasking brands are looking for new experience for their customers. From Acne Studios, Burberry, Gucci and Giorgio Armani, Solar and Henrik Vibskov.
Armani opened a restaurant just next to his flagship store and hotel in Milan. Roberto Cavalli’s cozy café is close to Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence. Right next to the most crowded shopping street in London (Oxford Street) is placed Burberry’s restaurant called Thomas’s (name after the founder of the brand). It’s just the perfect spot to rest in the afternoon for a glass of champagne (in between of shopping of course).
Burberry is not the only brand that has expended its range of food and drinks. Ralph Lauren opened Ralph’s Coffee on the second floor of its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Gucci opened bistro in Shanghai and launched café chains (one is e.g. in the elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan). The brand even opened a tiny museum in Florence.
Emporio Armani boutique on the fashionable street via Montenapoleone has enriched customers’ experience with new café. The designer took care of every smallest detail. Even the toilet remains of the tasteful interiors and causes goose bumps. It’s a preservation of Giorgio Armani’s style and it brings to mind a sense of casual hospitality. All over the world, there are 13 Armani cafes and restaurants. The designer has created the space which is an extension of his lifestyle and addition to his clothes lines. That’s not all! Apart from hotel range, restaurants, cafes and of course stores, Armani opened a museum – Armani Silos – with permanent exhibition of archival collections in celebration of 40th anniversary of professional designing.
Other luxury brands don’t want to be left behind. Dolce & Gabbana opened luxury bar with collaboration with Martini. Roberto Cavalli can from time to time make you a cup of coffee in his tiny but very cozy café hidden between streets in Florence. A garden Just Flower Garden hosts the best DJ parties where when you lucky enough, you can spot top models.
When the British brand of men’s clothing Hackett London opened its flagship store, interior designers added a space with gin bar styled as gentlemen club. What is more, cash desk was transformed into a bar and ice cream machine. The brand wanted to expanded the shopping experienced for customers and make sure clients would spend more time actually in the store. Free gin and tonic was a good idea to increase the time people spend inside and ultimately increase sales.
For brands, services such as hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants or even museum exhibitions are the reasons to increase the number of potential customers and attract people to spend more time in stores. Owners of the store Wolf & Badger opened a healthy food store in the basement. Customer can enter it through cloth store or just use separate entrance (as in M&S). It is known for the best spot for fresh squeezed juices. As a result, brand has gained new customers. There are even some of them who are coming specially from the other part of the city to buy this particular juice.
Dove Street Market is a place of art galleries, stores and food corners. It was designed by Rei Kawakubo – Japanese designer from Comme des Garcons. The first one appeared in London. Then in Tokyo, New York and Beijing. Cafes which are located in the area provide customers with freshly baked products. It increases the satisfaction out of the purchases and allows customers to relax and spend more time in Dover Street Market. It’s even possible to spend the whole day shopping! You can eat lunch, go shopping again, then relax with a drink and good music.
The motivation for creating those places is generating interest and more reasons for frequent and longer visits associated with the brand, especially as more and more customers choose to shop online. Cafes and restaurants are supposed to attract potential clients back to the store. That is why, many brands in the sector of fashion & beauty decide to introduce something other than just new products to the customers. It can be an exhibition (as Karl Lagerfeld and Henrik Vibskov did), a retrospective exhibition of archival collections (check Louis Vuitton’s Series) and the seasonal sales of handmade squeezed juices, organic frozen yogurt, specially flavored popcorn or custom decorated ice creams.
The profit of those places is not among the most important goals. Branded restaurants and cafes are created with the aim of building loyalty, attracting customers and encouraging more frequent and profitable shopping.
Consumers look for new shopping experiences and new forms of engagement. Kinfolk magazine launched clothing line “OUUR”. Media and publishing house Monocle has just opened its first café in London, where in addition to coffee, you can buy magazines and newspapers from various parts of the world. Monocle publishes as well the travel guides, and they sell selected clothes, books and gadgets on the website.
Danish designer Henrik Vibskov opened café in Copenhagen which in fact is very difficult to find (in order to generate interests). It’s located in the harbor area, where are only some warehouses. Additionally, he opened multiband boutique and creates art exhibitions. Acne Studios publishes professional fashion & lifestyle magazine Acne Paper. Similarly, Polish fashion brand Solar, which after rebranding added new value by distributing printed lifestyle magazine rich in content. The magazine is available free of charge but only in Solar’s boutiques. Every action is made to keep the customer inside the shop or at least in connection with the brand.
If the idea for a new product or service fits into the philosophy of the brand is mostly probable that it will increase the number of people visiting the shop and narrow the relationship between customer and brand. It will definitely create positive feelings, relaxed atmosphere and it will bring new experience associated with the brand.
Nowadays, social media is the most important channel to help the brand build audience and compete with others. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat not only serve to share funny pictures of kittens. They are the main marketing platforms. What engagement on social media means?