Do you enjoy shopping in a gallery?

Last week, Carla Sozzani cut the ribbon on her concept shop launched in Shanghai, China. The four-level store was designed by American artist Kris Ruhs and Carla Sozzani. On the first floor are the shops for household items, a bookstore, and pastry café. The second and third floors sell outfits for men and women. The fourth floor is a space for art where delicate artifacts are exhibited.

The inside of 10 Corso Como  Source:

The inside of 10 Corso Como


Located on the flashiest shopping street, 10 Corso Como is not only a place for shopping. It is more like a gallery where people can merge themselves into the ocean of modern arts and fashion, spend a lovely afternoon with a cup of latte, and get inspirations from the delicately designed things.


10 Corso Somo source:

10 Corso Somo

What is a concept store? In recent years, there are loads of concept stores emerging, especially in metropolitan cities like New York, Tokyo and Shanghai.  The phrase “concept store” is used to portray a store that can be identified by a special mix of a bunch of brands. Those concept stores go  extra miles by providing people unique shopping experiences. Rather than simply selling the products, concept stores emphasize certain types of attitude and lifestyle that are appealing to a certain groups of consumers. They sell the tangible products in a way that traditional shopping malls and boutiques seldom choose, namely creating a unique environment and rewriting the definition of “stores”.

10 Corso Como outfits for women  source:

10 Corso Como outfits for women

Two elements are crucial for concept store. One is the experience and the other one is consistency. Obviously, 10 Corso Como is doing a great job in providing  a special shopping atmosphere. When customers step into the store, the first thing that strikes them may not be the product, but the gorgeous interior design. People feel that purchasing products is not the main purpose. Instead, enjoying their time in a nicely designed place and consuming the environment become more important in the entire shopping experience. Also, consistency is incredibly important for concept stores. It is not necessary for the concept stores to have themes. However, the ideas behind the store should be integrated into the whole design of the shops.

Concept stores demonstrates a new form of fashion and are favored by young generation. Here are some comments from my friends who have ever experienced concept stores:

“I like concept stores. They are so beautiful. I always want to buy something when shopping at concept stores because everything looks so lovely and delicate.”  From Lucy, Female, 23

“Concept stores are using a good marketing strategy. I don’t think they really have excellent products. More often than not, people are caught by the environment not the products.”  From Gary, Male, 21

“Concept stores are leading a trend. I value the shopping experiences more than the products per se.  From my point of view, the concept stores promote a classy and fashion lifestyle.” From Eiffe. Female, 24

10 Corso Como from outside Source:

10 Corso Como from outside

Are concept stores leading a new trend? In an age when shopping can be done with several clicks, brick and mortar shops are facing great threats. In order to survive in a highly competitive environment, some of the shops  transformed themselves into concepts stores in hopes to attract people through offering unique shopping experience. However, there are some issues that cannot be neglected. First, the concept stores usually have very narrowed target market. In most of the cases they mainly target young people who have a good sense of fashion and novel definitions of lifestyles. This is a constraint that prohibits concept stores from turning into something big. Second, in the globalized world, concept stores have great opportunities to shine on global stage. But launch business in a different culture context is not easy. Thus localization has become a primary issue. How to adjust marketing strategies when encountering cultural differences is a top concern.  Also, in integrated marketing and communication age, those concept stores need to make full use of social media channels to do promotions. How to build a good image on social media platforms and keep consistent with their concepts is a key issue in the success of the business in new media realm.



10 Corso Como arrives in Shanghai, retrieved on Sept. 18th, 2013 from:

List of concept stores, retrieved on Sept. 19th, 2013 from:



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7 Responses to Do you enjoy shopping in a gallery?

  1. plama says:

    Galerie Lafayette in Paris provides great experience and has consistency with its brand image. The theme and decoration of the store changes with occasions including touch of Parisian culture. They do have fashion shows on their seventh floor every friday and Ladurée macaron store. Together with its great customer service, environment, art and decoration, it is also famous for its toilet. You can buy toilet paper of different design and their toilets are decorated in a specific theme. I would personally recommend you to visit their toilet and enjoy it.

    • Mengchu says:

      Macaron store~?Sounds great! I think concept stores do have to make some adjustments when entering an oversea market. I guess the 10 Corso Como in Shanghai must have some Chinese cultural elements~Like Panda? (This is a Cliché) Customers enjoy seeing their culture embodied, which is a part of the shopping experiences.

  2. elizabxw says:

    This was a really interesting post to me, because I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in a concept store before or not! (The fact that I’m not sure makes me think that I haven’t.) It sounds quite appealing in terms of experience, but it makes me wonder about the benefit for brands to be a part of the product store, since it sounds like people are more interested in the ambience than in the actual shopping. Do they have equal/lesser/greater profits than if the products were in their own store, do you know? It also seems like this is a concept that wouldn’t be able to travel much outside of major world cities- for instance, I can’t see this being very successful in my little hometown in New Mexico. It will be interesting to keep an eye on concept stores to see if they take off or not. Thanks for the post, Mengchu!

  3. Mengchu says:

    I agree that people may appreciate the ambience more than the products. I have not done any research on the profits that concept stores make by selling products. But I think they can sell the products and make profits. 1) Products sold at concept stores are always expensive(especially at 10 Corso Como). Those stores are targeting at rich people who care more about the quality of life and are more interested in spending money at the store having unique atmosphere and products. In this sense, even if the stores only sell a few products, they can still make profits. (2) Those stores have big brands(for instance, luxury brands) as business partners. And more often than not, the owners of the concept stores have their own brands that enjoy a high awareness and popularity.
    It is not so easy to open concept stores outside major cities. After all, people who can afford the pricey products gather in metropolitan cities. But I guess local stores can borrow the idea~For example, how does “everything-about-chocolate boutique” sound?~

  4. Siyu says:

    This comment is not insightful at all…But I’m a big fan of gallery-like shops! I like to shop or spend some time in a store that has great interior design because it makes me feel comfortable and probably make reasonable decisions.

  5. Mirror says:

    Your post reminds me of many bookstores I have visited. Since selling paper book in book stores becomes more and more difficult, how to survive in today’s society is the top concern for store owners. One solution they have is to transform their book stores to a concept store, providing not only the product, but also the experiences. Your post gives me inspiration on my post today! Thank for that! Welcome to my post!