Blog post written by Xabier Gómez Meabe – Foreign Trade Assistant
To kick start 2023, we teamed up with Chamber Member Brandlond to hold an exclusive and rigorously planned #retailtourexperience in Central London, led and designed by their CEO Marc Guitart. With him, we visited several of the most exciting stores in the area and learned how they use the shopping experience to increase their customer’s loyalty.
Marc is an award-winning designer and founder of brandcelona® in 2006 and brandlond® in 2018. He is also a branding lecturer at several universities, and the digital magazine CEO Monthly recognised him as the Most Innovative Brand Marketing CEO in 2022.
The event consisted of a guided and commented tour through selected brands that focus on their point of sale as a part of their business model, positioning themselves as a leader in it. The carefully planned route began at the Spanish Chamber office in Marylebone at 09:00 am and took us through Marylebone High Street.
Our first stop on the Tour was Conran Shop, three floors of elegant, contemporary furnishings, iconic designs, one-of-a-kind vintage furniture pieces, art and design books, fashion accessories, and innovative gifts. Marc emphasised the importance of considering store layout and contemporary design, aspects that have been mastered by and are strongly associated with Conran Shop.
We continued with Aésop, a skincare brand, and Le Labo, a New York-based perfume house that has become iconic for its collection of hand-made perfumes using the highest quality raw ingredients. Marc highlighted the intelligent use of lighting in the two boutiques, namely that it added a homely ambiance to both stores, emulating a feeling of comfort to the customer as well as drawing attention to certain products. The significance of store positioning and urbanism on a high street was also emphasised. In addition, regarding Le Labo’s bags, Marc stressed the importance of the luxurious touch and feel of products and accessories, which enhance both customer satisfaction and the quality of the brand.
Next, Marc took us to Bayley & Sage, a store where they deliver the highest quality, knowledge and provenance of fruit, vegetables, meat or the delicious seasonal dishes prepared in their kitchens. To finish with the Marylebone High Street, we visited one of the finest cheesemongers in London, La Fromagerie and Ottolenghi restaurant, where we learnt about the display of the softened with cosy, natural wooden finish space and the large and transparent windows that provides splendour to the brand.
We soon transitioned from the small boutiques of Marylebone into the landmark destination and social hub, Selfridges on Oxford Street. We visited the Korean sunglasses store, Gentle Monster where Marc stressed how the retail tour allows us to see which tools are competitive in the market, emphasising ‘The Giant’ by Gentle Monster, a large kinetic sculpture of a hyper realistic human face. The kinetic sculpture provides a unique and surreal experience for visitors and certainly differentiates the brand from their competition. This is particularly important in a store like Selfridges, where brands must be innovative in order to stand out in a room filled with quality products and brands.
Finally, the tour came to an end in Mercato Mayfair, where Chamber Benefactor and Non-Executive Chairman of Mercato, Julio Bruno, kindly hosted us in the crypt of this breath-taking, grade-1 listed building, explaining the concept of the popular food market in depth. The Mercato Metropolitano is a cultural hub of sustainable and authentic food that is locally sourced, as well as being a great community space and a more affordable location for a quality lunch or dinner in Mayfair.
We had a great time with Marc, and we want to thank everyone that attended and made the day special! We had attendees from some of our Member companies: Basque Trade and Investment, Ria Money Transfer, Cuatrecasas, Gómez Acebo & Pombo, and Diversitas Institute.