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In our new M Society Series we invite Guest Bloggers from the Meshugge Community to share their knowledge, spark ideas or simply tell an amazing story that is close to their heart. This article was written by the amazing Anja Pelissier, architect by day, fashionista by night. Thank you so much!
Welcome to my house! Or boutique? Audemars Piguet changes our retail experience.
In the era of people constantly buying online how can physical boutiques survive? While consumers enjoy discovering new products sitting comfortably in their sofas, marketing works really hard trying to make people actually get up and get to a physical boutique. And they are doing a pretty good job at it!
Blackhawk Network states that twenty-eight percent of consumers are shopping in stores more often than last year. Of the more than 3,000 adults surveyed, nearly two-thirds said they shop at retail stores just as often as last year, while only 9% reported shopping at physical stores less often.
So, what are the tricks that brands use to make physical stores stand apart from the online-shopping? This week, let’s take a look at a new concept of the Audemars Piguet boutique, a high-end luxury watches brand.
Audemars PIguet, being a highly luxurious brand, gives a hard time to their customers to buy a watch. The watches are very difficult to get, some of the pieces are available only after an agony of a waitlist and for others you have to be already a valued client to deserve to appear on a waiting list. No wonder the brand came up with a completely new concept of a boutique! A standard vision of a “regular store” didn’t fit in their sales model anymore.
The new concept is called an “AP House” and it looks way more like an apartment, than a boutique. The client enters into a luxurious apartment decorated with contemporary design pieces. Watches are almost nowhere to be seen in this space, the idea is mostly to create a comfortable luxurious environment, where the client feels very special to be invited. François-Henry Bennahmias, AP’s CEO, admitted himself in an article in Lifestyle Asia that the new concept serves mostly to “invite friends for lunch, organize a business meeting … there’s no obligation to buy a watch. You can take a seat, relax and chill out, if that’s how the mood takes you”.
As much as the idea appears to be simple, I truly admire the courage of the brand to come up with this kind of initiative. In a world where people are constantly facing aggressive ads, where one click on a Zalando shop means that for the rest of your life you will get Zalando ads in the right corner of your Google page, this kind of passive but very powerful sales strategy creates a much stronger desire.
The new boutiques are now spreading around, the first one appeared in Hong Kong, but now these concept boutiques (if one can even call then that?) start popping up in Europe too. For instance, there is one in Madrid, very close to Louis Vuitton boutique, where lucky customers can enjoy a baby-foot play on an outstanding terrace.
In the end, it is all about experience. Today’s customers are absolutely spoiled with the variety of choices, brands need to catch up and provide an exclusive experience that doesn’t only make you buy a product, but make you loyal and feel being part of an exclusive family.
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