WWD Re­tail 20/20 Lon­don: The New Store Ex­pe­ri­ence

Brand lead­ers gath­ered at Lon­don’s Well­come Col­lec­tion on June 27 to talk shop floors, cus­tomer se­duc­tion and the im­por­tance of savvy sales staff.


LON­DON — The shop floor is alive and thriv­ing — although it needs a dif­fer­ent type of nour­ish­ment in this era of dig­i­tal and mo­bile com­merce. Brand lead­ers from both sides of the At­lantic and from in­dus­tries rang­ing from fash­ion to cy­cling and bev­er­ages gath­ered at the Well­come Col­lec­tion near King’s Cross St. Pan­cras sta­tion here to hear about what’s work­ing — and what’s not — at the WWD Re­tail 20/20 Fo­rum, “The New Store Ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Speak­ers as di­verse as Ram­dane Touhami of L’Of­ficine Uni­verselle Buly, Dirty Lemon’s Zak Nor­mandin and Rapha’s Darren Read and Caro­line Cross­well talked about the im­por­tance of cul­ti­vat­ing and ed­u­cat­ing sales peo­ple — the ac­tors on the great re­tail stage — and trans­mit­ting the essence of a brand — dur­ing a group cy­cle ride, at a pop-up cock­tail bar or at a fra­grance talk.

Among the big themes that emerged were au­then­tic­ity and the im­por­tance of play­ing to one’s strengths as a brand, and en­sur­ing that the hu­man con­tact be­tween staff and shop­per re­mains strong.

“Cus­tomers want to en­joy them­selves when they are shop­ping — that’s the first and most im­por­tant thing,” said Si­mon Burstein, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer and founder of The Place Lon­don. “It’s the ex­pe­ri­ence: Shops are a theater, the sales staff are the ac­tors and the clothes are the props. If you make your con­nec­tion, you will have a suc­cess.”

The week was busy in the run-up to the fo­rum, with lux­ury jew­eler Jessica McCor­mack and Colleen Caslin, the com­pany’s ceo, host­ing a lunch and a cock­tail in honor of WWD’s edi­to­rial di­rec­tor James Fal­lon at the brand’s flag­ship on Car­los Place in May­fair, with guests in­clud­ing Michael Ward, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Har­rods; Megha Mit­tal, chair­man of Es­cada; Kristina Blah­nik, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Manolo Blah­nik; in­vestor Eiesha Bharti Pas­richa; Si­mon Liebel, founder and ceo of En­tourage Col­lec­tion; Rok­sanda Ilin­cic; Sa­gra Ma­ceira de Rosen, chair­man of Naga Group, and Mas­si­m­il­iano Binda, gen­eral man­ager of The Con­naught ho­tel, which catered the lunch.

WWD also co­hosted a din­ner with The Palmeraie at Lon­don’s Ham Yard Ho­tel, with guests who in­cluded in­dus­try lead­ers and de­sign­ers such as Anya Hind­march; Emilia Wick­stead; Os­man Youse­fzada; Henry Hol­land; Jenny Pack­ham; Clare McKeeve, founder and ceo of Lux­cite, and Anna Sweet­ing and Montse Suarez, man­ag­ing part­ners of Vaultier 7. Re­tail was on the agenda once again, with de­sign­ers and busi­ness lead­ers com­mit­ted to driv­ing their busi­nesses with fuel from bricks, clicks, taps and swipes.

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