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October 3, 2023

The Art of Digital Engagement: How Burberry Leverages Social Media and Technology

Burberry, facing a digital age challenge, embraced tech, targeting Millennials. Pioneering social media, they blended online and offline experiences in their 2020 Social Retail Store, featuring gamification, personalization, and a custom WeChat program. This partnership with Tencent redefined luxury retail, showcasing the future where digital and physical seamlessly connect.

Burberry, the renowned British luxury brand founded in 1856, has embarked on an extraordinary digital transformation, notably championed by former CEO Angela Ahrendts from 2006 to 2014. Facing an identity crisis in the global market, Burberry embraced digital platforms, explicitly targeting Millennials, and revolutionised its image through a strategic blend of social media and technological innovation. The pivotal moment arrived with creation of “Art of the Trench” in 2009, a pioneering social platform where customers showcased Burberry’s iconic trench coat. This initiative marked the beginning of Burberry’s digital engagement, eventually leading to the introduction of Burberry Bespoke in 2011, allowing online customisation of trench coats. In 2012, the brand unveiled its digitally enhanced flagship store in London, featuring large screens and an innovative concept termed “Burberry World Live.” Burberry’s social media journey intensified, with an active presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and more platforms. By 2014, 60% of Burberry’s marketing budget was allocated to social media, amassing millions of followers on Facebook and Instagram. Whit platforms like Instagram banned in China, Burberry collaborated with Tencent, China’s tech giant, to create a unique retail space.

In 2020, Burberry unveiled its groundbreaking concept, the Social Retail Store in Shenzhen, China, merging online interactions with physical retail experiences. The 539-square-meter store comprises ten distinct spaces, each celebrating Burberry’s heritage while offering interactive encounters. The store’s entrance features a captivating window responding to body movements, creating immersive moments shared on social media. Inside, three immersive fitting rooms offer personalised experiences, with QR codes linking products to digital screens for additional content and storytelling. Customers are rewarded with social currency, encouraging further interactions and unlocking exclusive experiences like the secret “Trench Experience” space.
A pivotal element of the store’s success lies in the partnership with Tencent, which led to the developing of a custom WeChat Mini Program used within the store. This program provides exclusive content, audio guides, appointments, and events. Through gamification, customers receive playful digital animal characters evolving with interactions and QR codes facilitate access to new collections and store exclusives.
Additionally, the store houses a cafĂ© named “Thomas,” blending Chinese and English culture, where customers can engage further with the WeChat mini program. Events, exhibitions, and workshops are held, enhancing the overall immersive experience.

Burberry’s venture into the Social Retail Store concept underscores a shift in consumer engagement, integrating social media into physical retail. By combining innovative technology, social media interaction, and personalised experiences, Burberry’s collaboration with Tencent has redefined the future of luxury retail, emphasising the intersection between the digital and physical worlds.




Shenzhen, China


Community, Service, Technology


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