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.
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.
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”.
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
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: