Swiss running brand On has opened its first standalone flagship store on London’s Regent Street, designing the customer experience around community and technology.
On’s three-storey Regent Street flagship, designed in-house, draws on the brand’s Swiss origins and its technology-forward manufacturing to create a seamless retail experience and running community hub. The design is inspired by a science museum: visitors are encouraged to explore different products and technologies across different stations. Collections are organized according to performance attributes, helping customers filter their shopping experience by their preferences. Floors made of pavers nod to London’s running routes, while tree trunk-like green walls made of concrete cast in wood pay homage to On’s alpine origins.
The ground floor is dedicated to the local running community, used for hosting panels, group workouts and events. The main retail area occupies the first and second floors with technology guiding the in-store customer journey. A ‘Magic Wall’ carries every size and model of each shoe to decrease the time spent waiting for sizes and shop-floor clutter. Built-in technology conducts an analysis of customers’ running styles to help them find the best shoes, aiding the decision-making process and improving customer service. Changing rooms engage the senses with a soundscape and scent activation recalling the Swiss Alps.
On’s shoes and apparel have been available in multi-brand stores for over a decade. When opening a flagship store, the brand considered how it could differentiate itself from the retailers already carrying its products. The label has found a strong position in the market for running shoes and apparel because of its focus on material technology and innovation. To communicate this, and transform shoe shopping into an experience, the flagship store intentionally incorporates technology.
Hidden sensors reassure customers about their decisions and add an element to the shopping experience that cannot be replicated online or in one of On’s retailers. It demonstrates that technology shouldn’t be added for the sake of technology: the presence of tablets and touch screens can feel like an afterthought and be distracting. Brands and designers should genuinely consider how specific technology can improve the retail experience and use it accordingly, like On has done with this space.
Images Courtesy of On
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