A London shopping excursion


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On a recent trip to South Africa to work with a client, I had a 13-hour layover before continuing on to Johannesburg. After a shower to freshen up, I headed off for my London excursion. I took the Tube, London’s subway system, directly to Piccadilly Circus from Heathrow. Here’s a recap of my London expedition, with ideas you may be able to use.

My first stop was Burberry’s new flagship store on Regent Street that had officially opened just a few days before. What a store! It’s truly where the past and present converge. The building was built in 1829; in the twentieth century it was one of London’s first movie theatres. The architectural detail throughout the 44,000 square foot store is just amazing.

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When you first come into the store you walk down a set of stairs into the main room, where your eyes are immediately drawn to the 22′ video screen. This is only one of the 100 video screens in the store, but because of the architecture and fixtures, the store doesn’t feel overly contemporary. This blend of modern and traditional reinforces a great brand message for Burberry. Here’s another shot of the main floor.

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The technology in the stores enhances the customer’s experience without overpowering it. The most interesting technology is the use of RFID tags. When a customer brings a product into the dressing room a video screen shows a video of the product on the runway, as well as video of a complimentary product. Very cool.

Burberry also has the best use of iPads I’ve seen in a store yet. Here, the iPads are attached to a mannequin, showing how the jackets can be the customized. They’re actually wirelessly transmitting HD content throughout the store.

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Each staff member is also equipped with an iPad. The iPads are in a leather case with a shoulder strap. They can do all of their clienteling, check inventory and customer history, and complete the transaction on the iPad. The staff itself is well educated, engaging, and ready to deliver a great experience.

Moving on.

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Nespresso, the coffee capsule brand advertised by George Clooney, brings a luxury store experience to a commodity product. Who knew that selling coffee machine and capsules could be upscale? This 5,000 square foot store includes a tasting area where customers can taste and learn all about Nespresso’s 16 Grand Cru coffees from the specially trained boutique specialists. They even have a private area for club members.

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Notice in this picture that the staff is dressed in suits, as well as the large display of capsules displayed behind the counter.

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I don’t remember which store this is, but the use of mannequin legs in the window stopped me in my tracks.

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Even though the Folli Follie store is not that big, they used a primary wall display at the front of the store to display the fashion press and pictures of the products being used by celebrities. I thought that makes a bigger statement than product itself.

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Here, Reiss highlights their online experience with the messaging on their windows. I especially liked how they displayed the “follow us” online.


Hamleys, a famous toy store in London, makes great use of product demonstrators throughout the store. I especially like the “Thank You For Playing” message as you exit the store. That is something you toy stores could adapt in your store.


I liked this window message from Armani Exchange. I could see college stores and other retailers that want to connect to their community doing this.

At this point I ran out of time and headed back to the airport to catch my flight.

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It isn’t retail, but here is a picture of Buckingham Palace and the ubiquitous London buses.

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Thank you London for a great couple hours of shopping and learning. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

Have a great week.

– Doug

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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