Retail Refugees


Buildling an Online Concept Store: wejetset
January 23, 2009, 4:44 pm
Filed under: Stores | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The concept of a “concept store” is an interesting one, it implies that there is something beyond a normal retail experience. This can be via a restaurant or bar element integrated into the space, an unusual combination of products and brands, or some sort of added value that elevates the customer experience. In the case of the most famous of these stores (Colette, Dover Street Market, l´Eclaireur, Loveless for example), the idea of an innovative “concept” is always built on a foundation of great interior design; Colette was recently re-designed by Wonderwall, Dover Street Market is under the constant and watchful eye of design guru Rei Kawakubo, and l´Eclaireur features some of the most original and frightening design elements available. This design is only the starting point however, from which the stores can really begin to operate on a higher conceptual level. Many shops fall into the trap of throwing a variety of high-profile brands together along with some limited edition toys and expect to exist on this same level.

When considering retail in the online context, the idea of a building a concept store is both more and less challenging. On one hand, it is possible to create this added value by means of content (this is not so hard to find- just look how many new blogs are created daily). On the other hand however, the challenge lies in integrating the content that is relevent, in a relevent way- aligning values and creative directions are not always easy.

I have recently become in contact with, and subsequently a fan of, an online retailer called wejetset that, in spite of being just over one year old, has done a great job aligning its added value with its core business of selling cool and unique travel supplies. The product offering ranges from Mandarina Duck luggage, to the impossibly cool Curated by Arkitip products for incase (the standard for apple product accessories like laptop sleeves and iPhone covers) but also boasts a significant selection of quirky inexpensive gadgets and toys. This are not random KidRobot products- they are things that travellers could actually find useful. What seperates wejetset from other travel e-tailers is that is also has a significant, and more importantly interesting and relevent, editorial section. WJS features travel writing sourced from a variety of opinion leaders including some a hotel representation company, designers, fashion experts, lawyer, medical researcher, etc. The content is in a blog format rendering it easy to consume and digest and technologically convenient. Through this, the content is tagged with labels that are simply useful for travellers- and who do you think is on a travel supply website? travellers! On top of this, WJS has plans to expand its video offerings and publish a print piece with city information.

At the end of the day, the idea of a concept store is to take retail one step further, whether it be online or offline, and it is nice to see this executed so deliberately.

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