Luxury retailers can provide the ultimate in shopping escapism. With shopper marketing catering for the well heeled and often financially elite.

They can also provide the perfect opportunity for voyeurism from those of us who are less fortunate to be able to buy every item from a luxury store.

As you may be aware from our earlier blogs, The Market Creative recently went on a team Retail Safari. We split into 3 teams and each team was designated a different shopping destination and genre. Our team was allocated Knightsbridge, the ultimate area for high end shopping. Home to Harrods and Harvey Nichols this day was all about experiencing luxury retail in one of London’s most affluent postcodes…

Luxury Retail

As its name suggests ‘luxury retail’ is all about the experience. What makes someone buy an item from Selfridges when they could buy it £1 cheaper in Debenhams? It’s all in the act of experiencing and the feeling you get when shopping in a high-end store. The fact that someone opens the door for you perhaps, the sleek aspirational décor, the cardboard carrier bag personally handed to you around the counter, all little details that amount to a big difference when it comes to shopping. For some it can be a treat, a one off, and for others a weekly occurrence. In order to delve a bit deeper into this category we headed to London’s Harvey Nichols and Harrods to see what these retail supreme-os were up to in terms of retail experience, and shopper marketing.

Harrods – The Ultimate Tourist Attraction

Ask anybody to name the most famous department store in London and they will probably say Harrods, it’s become almost as iconic to London as Buckingham palace. As such, it’s likely that tourists visiting the city will have this store on their to do list when visiting the capital. This was clear to see when shopping here. Upon purchasing from any department staff asked us if we needed directions to anywhere else, not what you get when you buy something from Selfridges Trafford that’s for sure!

Harrods of course sells many luxury items, from couture fashion to bespoke furniture, you could easily fritter away many thousands in a matter of moments. However, on the flipside of this, some of the busiest areas in the store were those selling low ticket items, such as souvenirs. People visiting here are all desperate to buy something, no matter how small just to have a memento of the visit, and walk out with that all important green carrier bag. We found this fascinating, a retailer who is constantly trying to satisfy itself both as a brand but also a tourist attraction, the experience in some areas was almost comparable to being in a museum, people were here as much to look as they were to buy.

Heritage and Provenance

One of the most inspirational areas of Harrods is the Food Hall. This, it has to be said is like no other department store. Its vast array of global cuisine and beautiful interiors is truly stunning, a feast for the eyes as well as the body. Each section feels truly authentic, from colonial style tea counters, Willy Wonka style chocolate stands and a fish counter and hall that transports you back in time. You could easily spend hours here, taking in the experience, as well as buying, sampling and sitting down to enjoy a glass of wine or two along the way. Everything here is designed to inspire you, encouraging dwell time and taking you on the journey that is Harrods.

Innovative POS and Shopper Marketing

It has to be said that we didn’t see anything particularly mind blowing when it came to these areas. Although a 3D spinning mannequin in ladies fashion was interesting, and brought a little retail theatre to the floor. Cross promotion was present everywhere, point of sale navigating you to other sections in a subtle, but clever way. The use of lighting throughout was well considered, with digital point of sale being used in parts, in a gallery esque way, allowing Harrods to promote offers, promotions, as well as brand messages.

Our Verdict

Overall it could be said that Harrods is ‘the ultimate shopping experience’, offering something for everyone, from the excited tourist to the well-heeled fashionista. It’s a melting pot of clientele, but somehow is still pleasurable to shop in, all underpinned by its excellent customer experience, which is strictly adhered to in such a large-scale operation.

We left feeling inspired, like we had experienced something different to what we could have up here in Manchester. So there we have it, Harrods – providing a master class in luxury retailing.

If you would like to find out more about our Retail Safaris, call us on 0161 872 7813

Retail Safari Knightsbridge Team

Dorina D’Ambrosio – Creative Director

Caroline Finch Denham – Account Director

Helen Priestley – Account Manager

Hannah Sutton – Business Administrator