Tuesday 12th November 2013
Today, myself, Nesrin, Louise and Amy visited the Burberry flagship store on Regent Street in London. This trip was to conduct some brand research. I had already made a little list of things I wanted to know and find out from visiting the store which were:
- what is the store front window like?
- what are the sales assistants like?
- what is the store like inside with regards to interior design?
- what types of garments so they have for sale in store?
- what are the main colours used in the garments?
- Price range?
Thankfully, this wasn’t a wasted trip because I was able to answer all of the questions I had prepared.
When we first got to the store on Regent Street, the building itself looked very grand and posh. The front window display was very luxurious, given that the colours used were gold and rich tones of red. This was their Christmas window display, but it didn’t scream Christmas like other stores may have done, you could just tell it was just a nod to the season with the colours used in the display. There was also a large gold bow in the window in the background with two mannequins dressed in coats on display too. In the right hand corner was a large gift box, opened with a gift inside which I thought looked very cute. I did like the window display as I think it wasn’t too bold and in your face with tacky Christmas gifts everywhere you look, I feel it was a sophisticated approach to it and worked very well. I think for people who are in a financial position to purchase from Burberry, this would entice them to come in as only a hint of garments and a few gifts are shown so perhaps its just giving a little taster, wanting the customer to come in and discover what might be inside the store.
image taken on my phone on the day of the trip
So as we entered the store, it became immediately obvious we were being watched by two security guards in the doorway and we were greeted by a lovely sales assistant, dressed smartly in black with a name badge on and immaculate hair and makeup, not a fault on her! She looked very professional and she was the only member of staff to make me feel welcome in the store , whereas the others we came across were the complete opposite. I believe that the first impression is so important, especially with a designer brand like this that I didn’t like the feeling of being watched and got a bad first impression on that score.
As you go through the main entrance, you step down a few marble steps onto the actual shop floor which kind of reminded me of a cruise ship almost, as right in front of you was another staircase which lead up to the ‘balcony’ area where many garments where on mannequins. So on the lower level of the store, it was very dull and darker than I expected. I imagined it to be a bit brighter and airier than it was. On every corner of the store stood an intimidating security guard so it was so hard to take photographs of anything but I did manage it. Garments were hanging up on rails and there was one side for womenswear and another for mens. Not many eye catching colours jumped out at me as the garments were in beige’s, brown’s and the odd red. It seemed on the lower level were the more casual, relaxed clothing as I saw a few jackets, trousers and shirts hanging, a bit bland if I’m honest.
So we made our way to the upper level of the store and in the middle of the store at the bottom of the stairs was a huge digital screen which was displaying video clips from catwalk shows, perhaps of the garments currently in store to try and get customers to buy?
The stair case was very grand and luxurious with real wood flooring. At the top of the stairs, you could go left to head for womenswear and right for menswear. Some of the lighting reminded me of the Art Deco era which were stunning. There wasn’t many garments to look at on the first floor and there wasn’t many customers at the time either, except I spotted a man trying on a range of trench coats in front of a large mirror upstairs which I thought was unusual. I would have expect he selected what garments he wanted to try on and have them taken into a private changing room where he could have his own privacy without other customers looking. This didn’t seem like the luxury brand shopping experience taking his jumper off in the middle of the store. Maybe I have a high expectation of Burberry but I would have though a customer deserved privacy in trying on garments even if it was just a coat, luckily it wasn’t a shirt or trousers, that would have been embarrassing.
Overall, I did find the trip useful to see current garments being sold and the overall Burberry feel but I think I left the store feeling slightly disappointed. I guess that the brand is all about being classic, British and luxurious and that is what the store did convey but I did find it a bit bland.
On the customer side of things, there wasn’t anyone in there in our age range (20’s), there was a more mature male and female feel to who was in the store. It is clear by the pricing you would have to have a very well paid job to be able to afford to shop in Burberry so we must have looked so obvious as a bunch of students! Everyone has to start somewhere though!
One thing I was surprised I didn’t see any of what the signature tartan print of Burberry which is so well known worldwide. I think perhaps they have shaken off the print and kept the brand looking more clean and classic which it did look. In my other research, I did find that the Burberry print did pick up a ‘chav’ look and that is something a luxury brand wouldn’t want under their designer name.
After visiting the store, we went to find some fabric swatches that would be similar to Burberry fabrics just to represent what we saw in store that day, to stick in our sketchbooks.
My next stage is to now come up with a customer profile and perhaps start gathering images for a brand board.