In a marketplace servicing unceasingly selective consumers, the luxury retail industry needs to innovate continually to remain relevant. Where once critiques claimed brick and mortar shopping might get replaced by eCommerce, now brands are recommencing their investment in the in-store experience. How retail companies go about doing this varies considerably, from the high-profile Louis Vuitton studio to Prada and Longchamp, the face of luxury fashion is changing rapidly.
New York-based REIGN, an independent men's lifestyle brand, and fashion boutique is at the forefront of prioritizing customer experience as part of their in-store offering. The luxury fashion brand founded by Santino LoConte opened in the West Village of New York City in 2017 and has since become a landmark. "We wanted to create a space where visitors not only get to shop hi-fashion streetwear but also get an immersive brand experience. In a bid to do so, we have tried enhancing the in-store aspect by giving it a touch of tech through a rotatable assortment of footwear. At REIGN, the end goal is to enable customers to wander through the space and feel connected with the cult we've created. Retail for us is not only about bringing high-end brands under one roof but also stirring experiences that get etched in memories," said Santino LoConte.
Having spent a substantial amount of time in the retail industry, previously as a director of Global Corporations for PONY and now as the founder and creative designer of REIGN, LoConte strongly believes that experiential retail is the future of luxury fashion and that, with experiential shopping, retail has turned into 'retailtainment.' To this, he further adds, "The way customers perceived shopping earlier has all transformed now. Shopping isn't just about going out and purchasing things because one needs them. It's slowly turning into a form of entertainment. From a customer perspective, investing in experiences instead of products provides a better value. As a retailer, I feel this is the way forward for customer retention and attraction that the industry has long been struggling with."
For LoConte's boutique, the fashion enthusiast has partnered up with Samsung C&T Fashion Groupto integrate sound and visual technology shopping system to create an immersive experience. The massive 1600 square feet space of REIGN features a private courtyard, circular skylight illuminating the white-washed brick walls and white concrete floors, edgy corners adorning the collection of accessories, and giant vertical mirrors reflecting the charm of the store.
One key reason for LoConte to adapt to the experiential retail concept instead of e-commerce or traditional retail was millennials. In his opinion, the millennial demographic is well-versed with the idea of highly valuing experiences, and in a scenario like this, online shopping, despite all the convenience, will fail to deliver the same experience of a modern and improved, tech-driven experiential store. For LoConte, it's about steering the game and sustaining it in the long-term. "In the years to come, we want REIGN to become a hub where customers come for an unforgettable experience. We have stepped it up by offering what others are yet to figure or are in the process of adapting to change in the retail sector," added LoConte.
By featuring products from a range of high-end brands including Adidas, Acne Studios, Alexander McQueen, Greg Lauren, Puma, Undercover, Stone Island, and Vans, among others, REIGN has already become a coveted fashion destination and a renowned name in the international fashion circuit.
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