We are sometimes visiting flagship stores without even realizing it, because we are passing by it every day or because we don’t catch how different it is from its peers. Flagship stores take their name from real flagships, a nautical term that define the “ship in a fleet which carries the commanding admiral”. Hence, a flagship store is the shop that represents the brand for several possible reasons. Either it is the first store to open and became a symbol of the retail of the brand, or sometimes the building is part of the flagship store and is a scenic spot by itself; take Abercrombie & Fitch in Tokyo Ginza or Louis Vuitton in Paris’ Champ Elysées.
It also can be a particularly impressive one, with several floors and almost the all range of products, like it is the case for Lush store in Oxford Street, London, a place you can even visit thanks to Google Streets. It contains some exclusive products, some new packaging launched only in this flagship store. It sometimes offers special talks, and workshops to enhance the relationship between the brand and their customers, always more intrigued by their products and way of doing.
The flagship store can be particularly innovative and offer spectacular experience, as Dr Martens store in Camden, where a VR show is taking customers to the shoe factory, connecting them psychologically to the brand. This is again another proof that sensory branding now has a huge impact on how retailers are creating their shops.
A pop-up store, however, is a retail space that is potentially as impressive and/or innovative that the flagship store but only for a limited time. The idea is to gain some visibility to customers that would not normally be really aware of the brand. You might come across pop-ups that would look like flagship stores, in a great location, with interesting concept, like Coco Game Center last month on Queen’s Road, but sometimes pop-up stores really appear ephemeral as it can only be a truck on the side of the road.
This is why we love retail! There is so many different possibility to discover brands, their values and their products without it being boring!
And now that OnTheList is launching some pop-up stores, tell us where you would like us to open! Our next one will be Ted Baker is Taikoo Place, but don’t worry, Duddell Street is still going strong!