With physical retail spaces increasingly being occupied by brands that started online, Georgina Fisher visited 5 Carlos Place, Matchesfashion’s new concept store.
Matchesfashion - Expanding from Ecommerce to Bricks and Mortar
Luxury ecommerce has rapidly taken off over the past few years with platforms such as Farfetch reporting 74% growth in 2016 (Fashionista). However, it’s not just the luxury ecommerce market that is growing - all pure plays (including huge platforms such as ASOS and Amazon) are increasingly gaining market share, with Retail Gazette reporting:
- Online sales now account for 17.4% of the UK’s total retail sales
- In June, online retail sales grew by 17%, which they have done for nearly every month since 2000
Despite this growth, stores still play a huge role in the customer shopping journey. Physical spaces are being occupied by pureplay retailers as a way to showcase their brand, establish a strong brand identity, and engage with their customers in a different way. Boden opened a new store in January and even Google is looking to open its first physical store in Chicago.
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Not only do stores allow customers to try on products and allow for face to face style advice, they are also being increasingly introduced to enable immersive brand experiences and encourage the social aspect of shopping. Luxury fashion retailer Matchesfashion has taken this to the next level with 5 Carlos Place, creating a concept space which allows more than just shopping.
5 Carlos Place
5 Carlos Place is a retail, events and broadcasting space, connecting the physical and digital by bringing Matchesfashion’s online shopping and content into one space. Reported in Vogue, Jess Christie, Chief Brand Officer, Matchesfashion announced “We want to bring a sense of enjoyment back to physical retail and create a sense of community”.
For the launch of 5 Carlos Place, Matchesfashion collaborated with Prada to create an installation with Prada marked vending machines, pinball machines and 100 products only available in the Matchesfashion store. This fun-filled shopping space spans over the first 2 floors of the beautiful red-bricked Mayfair building, with collaborations by new designers changing every few weeks, bringing a freshness and exclusivity to an exciting and ever-evolving space.
QR codes are everywhere to encourage scanning and interaction, prompting customers to open the Matchesfashion app (or download it). Depending on which code you scan, the app will then launch content such as ‘The Making of 5 Carlos Place’, beautiful catwalk videos and product pages allowing you to shop the full collection.
Despite a strong focus on technology, the space doesn’t include gimmicks such as magic mirrors or VR headsets, but rather tech that genuinely helps the customer and enriches their experience. As Drapers reports “The store includes subtle mobile technology throughout that is connected to the Matchesfashion app, which allows shoppers full access to the retailer’s product range. The technology will also give staff access to visitor’s sizing information, past orders and browsing history, using a bespoke algorithm that helps staff to suggest relevant and personalised recommendations.” Furthermore, the algorithm allows for staff to send the customer follow up personalised emails (once they have left the store) with other relevant product suggestions.
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The next few floors are home to the private shopping suites. These have to be pre-booked but customers can have clothes delivered to the store from the warehouse in just 90 minutes. Impressive!
However, despite the amazing shopping spaces, it’s not just about the clothes - increasingly physical retail is putting an emphasis on being a place where customers enjoy spending their time as well as their money. The cafe on the top floor offers free coffee and cakes, and will also be used as an event space hosting masterclasses, dinners and musical performances. Matchesfashion is well known for its brilliant content including ‘The Style Report’ and ‘The Style Social’ and these events will be broadcasted from 5 Carlos Place onto their website as additional content. Reported in Drapers, “40% of Matchesfashion’s sales now come via interactions with its content, it is clear to see why content sits at the core of 5 Carlos Place, both physically in store – providing that experiential element – and digitally, and therefore internationally, via the website.”
It’s no secret that Matchesfashion have always been good at their online piece with innovative ideas and huge digital ambitions. Filed in Companies House, its revenue grew 43.7% up to £293m for the year ended 31st January 2018, with 95% of this being generated online.
Reported in Essential Retail, Ulric Jerome, CEO, Matchesfashion outlined the mission for 5 Carlos Place as being, “to create the most personal luxury shopping experience in the world, underpinned by insight, technology and our unique fashion point of view”. In an environment where bricks and mortar stores need to go beyond being functional spaces, 5 Carlos Place is certainly well on its way to achieving this with its unique product offering and emphasis on experience, technology and constant creative evolution.