There has long been a vast amount of discussion and debate surrounding ‘experiential retail’. In a globally volatile economic climate that is seeing retail – from high street to high-end – struggle to convert footfall into sales, the strategy is becoming as much as a guessing game as it is a practice to lure consumers to part with money. Whilst online sales maybe buoyant, getting consumers into store is not as easy as it requires more than the golden three-step process from browsing to payment, even when face-to-face customer service is of the highest quality. However, the store remains the bastion of the brand, as it is where you can get a feel, smell and that tingle of excitement of shopping that cannot be replicated online.

 

Whilst we were in Seoul, Korea we headed to Maison Hermes, situated on the northwest tip of the famed Gangnam district. It was here that the French house has excelled at creating a brand experience. As we walked into the imposing, glass-blocked building we were hit by a hearty whiff of Hermes Gallop, one of the latest fragrances from the house, which balances a leathery heritage with light, fresh notes of spring. The architecture of the store is housed around a mesmerizingly, stone spiral staircase that shoots off into themed room that, unsurprisingly, rarely differ from any other of their stores globally, namely the cushiony taupe carpet and light brown wood shelving.

 

Yet downstairs is the Hermes restaurant – approximately seating 25 around a series of round tables in the middle of the room and small tables to its sides. Seated under a vast lighting piece, we looked at the large but not overwhelming menu eager to begin our very late lunch. The last time we ‘dined’ with Hermes was in London at their pop-up café at the New Bond Street boutique, where coffee and petit fours were served on their new, vibrant collection of homeware – and this time it would be no different.

One thing I must say is, this is not expensive. I had a very tasty, juicy and generously portioned club sandwich served with well-cooked fries whilst my fiancé had the wagyu burger that was a towering monster of beef, accompanied with fries. Both were a reasonable £13-16 each, and with a glass of wine each the whole bill came to £44-47 (the Korean Won was changing daily so these prices are a guide). With the rain teaming down outside, we were in no rush so after we had finished, we perused their latest exhibition within the Foundation Hermes that was creative, abstract and fun.

Before we left the store, I just had to get a snap in their made-for-Instagram booth that was decked out like a 1980s teenager’s bedroom, albeit an Hermes obsessed one with a retro TV, headphones and (branded) skateboard.

So brands. Got the space? Flaunt your brand for the eyes, stomach, nose and ultimately, the heart.

Written by Danhasbyoliver

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