Selfridges’ Andrew Keith on retail’s hyperphysical future

type - big idea
Big Idea
sector - fashion
sector - retail
The managing director of Selfridges Group examines the ways that retailers can create immersive, engaging and Hyperphysical Store experiences

The past few years have centred on making shopping hyper-convenient. What, then, makes people still want to visit physical stores?

After global lockdown periods, when many people were forced to use digital shopping tools, shoppers are now even more aware of what they're looking for when it comes to a physical experience. At Selfridges, we’ve always thought of ourselves as being more than a shop.

We’re very much about creating a destination and a physical experience that is about the unexpected joy of discovery. In a physical environment, you are immersed in a world of opportunity. The physical environments that we create at Selfridges are as much about the curation of the experience as they are about the curation of the product.

Post-lockdown, what has been the priority for the type of experiences that Selfridges curates?

We create environments that change according to how we want people to feel. At the moment, for example, our Super Futures concept is about exploring the very best version of yourself. Through this concept, we explore everything from spirituality to sexual health, all through immersive and experiential in-store touchpoints. Our stores are physically designed to offer as much flexibility as possible. And each one of the stores is also designed to reflect the locations they're in. We work with local makers, for example, to bring their products into the stores. We consider it as hyper-curating for different communities.

Published by:

1 June 2022

Author: Abi Buller

Image: Super Culture by Selfridges is a new programme of events, films, installations and experiences celebrating the most exciting ideas in the arts, both online and in-store, through performance and window displays, London


Mon Vintage Vivienne Westwood corset and skirt and Bay Garnett veil, available at Selfridges London

In 2021, Selfridges launched its wedding packages. Tell us the thinking behind this.

We recognise that people think of Selfridges as a place they want to spend the day. And what better way of spending your ultimate day – the day that you're always going to remember – than by doing it in Selfridges? The fact that you can come to Selfridges [in London], get your hair and make-up done, buy or rent your dress, and enjoy our other services, felt like a great opportunity. You can have your entire wedding party kitted out through Selfridges too. You can also enjoy the most amazing wedding breakfast or dinner at one of our restaurants.

From weddings to wellbeing services, is there an opportunity for more retailers to operate as venues, with events for different life milestones?

Yes, especially as retailers start to understand more about customers’ needs and the importance of social spaces in people’s lives. There are so many milestone moments that can happen in a place like Selfridges, whether it be the wedding, the engagement ring or buying your first pair of smart shoes. The fact that there's already been these milestone moments suggests that we can continue to build on that and work with communities to bring them to life. As we start to know our customers better, we will start to have much more of a two-way dialogue, and we will start to get a better understanding of what they really need.

‘As we start to know our customers better, we will have much more of a two-way dialogue, and we will get a better understanding of what they really need’

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