Retailtainment in London’s Oxford Circus

While on holiday in London I had several to dos on my list, including a walk along the South Thames; a night at the theater; and most important, a trip to the Oxford Circus Topshop. I was excited to search for unique, European fashion but was surprised and excited to find more to consume my time. It was a unique, full-service shopping experience that made me rethink what I want from my U.S. retailers – I want more retailtainment.

At first glance, the Oxford Circus Topshop looks like any normal clothing store, offering accessories, shoes, and a range of clothing. But, as I ventured into the store, each level and department offered a service that made me wish I had two days rather than two hours in the store.

While looking for accessories I was distracted by the cupcake, candy, and frozen-yogurt stands. Downstairs, I was tempted to skip the shoe section to get my nails, brows, and hair done at the in-store salon stations. I then wished my smartphone worked abroad so I could download the SCVNGR app, which prompts shoppers to perform in-store challenges to earn points and rewards for Topshop goods. And just when I thought I might run out of steam midway through the store, I came across the café, which offered a spacious lounging area.

Not only were these service offerings unique and new compared to my typical clothes-shopping experience, it was also hard to miss them. They were sprinkled prominently throughout the store among the clothing and jewelry racks rather than tucked away in a corner, like the cafés at U.S. department stores. Their prominence made me consider the service and their aesthetic made them inviting and appealing.

Topshop’s fun and inviting retailtainment made me not only spend more time in the store but spend more money. I am not alone. Experian Simmons data indicates that over 65% of consumers indicate that a store’s environment affects whether they shop or not. Therefore, it is important that all types of retailers from grocers to hardware stores to boutiques consider how to woo their customers. Perhaps, offering a suite of in-store services is a means for today’s retailers to personally connect with shoppers and position themselves as a service provider and destination rather than a product-fulfillment center.