IRL meets URL in Burberry’s boundary-pushing new store

The immersive Shenzhen space blends the physical world with the virtual world of social media

On the back of a recent campaign that saw Burberry’s retail staff model Riccardo Tisci’s Pre-SS21 collection, the label has announced the opening of a new retail space in Shenzhen, China. Burberry’s first “social retail store”, the space blends the physical world with the online world in partnership with Tencent, the tech giant behind the Chinese social media app WeChat.

Through WeChat, visitors can enhance their experience of the new store in a variety of ways, all while gaining “social currency” earned by engaging with the brand and traded in for various rewards. Engagement will also evolve a cute, virtual animal character given to each customer (Tamagotchi, but make it fashion).

“I have always felt very passionately about engaging with our community, telling a story and enabling them to dream with us in the Burberry world,” says Riccardo Tisci. “For me, this store represents the opportunity to bring our community right into the heart of the brand.”

“It is the balance between both the physicality of fashion with the fantasy of the digital realm.”

Of course, besides all of the tech innovations, the physical store will also include some of the more familiar house codes, including references to the Burberry monogram and a space featuring a digital journey through nature, in celebration of the label’s signature trench coat.

Get a closer look at Burberry’s new store, which opens in Shenzhen today, below, and revisit the Pre-SS21 campaign in the gallery above.