Digital to analogue – an iconic retail brand opens in Doha
It’s often acknowledged that in the age of online shopping, bricks-and-mortar retailers have suffered. Many haven’t survived the transition to online, and launching new physical outlets can be a real roll of the dice. Luckily, there’s a way to ensure those dice are loaded.
The brands that have lived through the online revolution are those that have evolved; the ones that have recognised that if you’re going to thrive as a physical retail space, you have to exploit the advantages that physicality involves. Namely, the opportunity to create an immersive sensory environment. Shopping has become more than a series of choices and transactions. It’s not enough to offer customers a product any more; to stay afloat in a highly competitive market, you have to offer them an experience.
And when it comes to highly competitive markets, Doha is up there with the fiercest. As recently as 2017, the Qatari capital, was listed as the world’s fourth biggest retail market for new entrants, sandwiched between Dubai and Tokyo in 3rd and 5th, respectively. (Hong Kong tops the table.) For a new brand to crack a market like this, it has to – to borrow a phrase – go hard, or go home.
The Paris-born department store Galeries Lafayette is an iconic retail brand, with 120 years of experience in the fashion arena, 62 stores in France, outlets in international hubs including Berlin, Beijing, Jakarta, Dubaï, Istanbul, Shanghai and now Doha. It has maintained its market position and rate of growth in part through its acute understanding of the relationship between the customer’s digital experience in store and sales.
To that end, Galeries Lafayette commissioned retail technology agency VIVID to develop the digital environment of the new Doha store. VIVID’s aim was to design innovative and compelling experiences for the entire three-floor 14,000sqm department store that would capture the attention – and therefore spend – of Doha’s affluent and discerning audience, both local and international. VIVID created jigsaw of digital solutions that helped customers navigate the store while clearly communicating Galeries Lafayette’s brand identity and its promise to embody the ‘French Art of Living’.
Music was, of course, one of the key pieces in the puzzle. To complement VIVID’s visual elements, the agency asked Music Concierge to develop solutions for the store’s background music that would act as the signature sound of Galeries Lafayette Qatar. By breaking the store down into distinct retail zones – from retail to food and beverage areas – we were able to develop a family of playlists tailored to the required experience in each zone which were delivered via VIVID’s audio system design.
Galeries Lafayette Doha opened its doors in April 2019, and has rapidly become one of the city’s must-visit retail spaces – yet another argument for the fact that, when it comes to making a mark as a bricks-and-mortar brand, experience matters.