London’s Top 5 Creative Stores
This is Visual Merchandiser’s Guide to the top 5 shopping hotspots in London, who continuously attract millions and millions of shoppers. This is due to their luxury services and products, well thought out strategies and their extremely effective visual merchandising.
Established In 1824 from what began as a grocery store and tea merchant the 5 acre store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge boasts 330 different departments with over 3000 staff and is the largest department store in Europe. The store is world famous for its dark green awnings, unique teddy bears and extravagant Food Hall. The store offers lavish luxury services and products with haute couture to pet accessories, with over 27 restaurants aimed to satisfy every taste, and a selection of exclusive services including Harrods Bank and Gold Bullion services. Aside from attracting customers from all over the world due to its well-established name, there is no avoiding it around Christmas time with the store using 11,000 bulbs to make the store stand out even more than usual. The use of simple lights attracts more less every shopper, all looking to embrace the Christmas spirit!
#2 Harvey Nichols
Commonly referred to as Harvey Nic’s the store is located in Knightsbridge over eight floors of beauty, fashion, home and food. The store offers exclusive services such as beauty treatments that include Beyond MediSpa and the shop even has its own team of doctors and medical aestheticians. The fifth floor hosts an exquisite food market with over 600 exclusive products and a private vodka tasting room. The store boasts brands such as Prada, Armani and D&G. The store entices passing shoppers in to with its unique and imaginative store displays, which often tell a story. The mannequins are personalised using wigs, arranged in numerous positions as well as often being split up, so just the legs are shown. As the displays are usually so extravagant this draws people in, allowing shoppers to actually see the clothes, rather than just pass by them.
Over 100 years old Selfridges is the second largest department store in the UK located on Oxford Street over acres of shopping space with 6 floors of shopping, food, exhibition halls and various other services. From high class fashion to hi-fi, wardrobe co-ordination and wedding lists the store caters to a customer’s every need. With its concession boutiques, themed events and collections from the hottest new brands, Selfridges is a first point-of-call for stylish shopping. Selfridges recently used a different approach to attract customers,
by taking a simplistic ‘no noise’ approach. This consisted of removing logos and slogans from well-known brands, such as Heinz and Clinique. The concept came from the idea that high streets and shopping centres are already incredibly busy so by using minimal displays this sense of tranquillity will attract customers more than bold displays. After all, as the old saying goes, simplicity is key.
At some point everyone has witnessed an embarrassed looking parent trying to calm their child down when they’re throwing a tantrum for not getting what they want. Everyone has probably also witnessed a parent letting their child get their way purely to avoid causing a scene. This is where toy stores have an advantage over any other type of store. Hamleys is one of the most famous toy stores in the world, being a child’s dream land. However, without visual merchandising this store could soon go from a child’s dream land to a store that looks like any other to the average shopper. Hamleys often dress their staff teddy bear costumes outside the store to appeal to passers-by. Very few people can ignore a giant human teddy and most people in fact want their picture taken with them. This creates a ‘buzz’ outside the store, which can then often create crowds to see what is going on. A simple, cheap and easy idea, yet extremely effective.
The Oxford Circus mega branch of the global company is known for its affordable clothing and easy to navigate layout. The store offers unique products from its own brands and designer collaborations from London Fashion Week stars including Richard Nicoll, Marios Schwab and Mary Katrantzou. The store continues to keep itself fresh with pop up nail bars, hair dying stations and mini makeover stalls. Topshop are known for their quirky displays which not only showcase the company’s products, but also the company’s personality. The visual merchandising team really know how to appeal to their target market using everything from colour to mismatched patterns. Despite the majority of their clothing being reasonably priced, the store’s visual merchandising usually has a very high fashion feel to it, attracting masses of students and young professionals that want fashion at an affordable price.