Inside of “Curetail” – New Retail of China’s Best Shopping Mall

Gentle Monster retail installations in SKP-S, Beijing

“Curetail”: Curation for retail and a new retail norm in China

As more online shopping platforms are emerging, the traditional function of shopping malls – retail – has been undermined. However, a relieving fact for shopping malls, especially the premium ones, is that luxury brands still aspire to create a dedicated luxurious shopping experience for their clients.

Up to the point where deliberately curated shopping malls play an increasingly crucial role in recruiting consumers and boosting physical store performance of brands, as the shopping mall in which their stores are located presents the very first impression to customers when they shop offline.

Xintiandi Plaza: A cultural and social destination for female customers

Xintiandi Plaza, one of China’s most prestigious malls located in the heart of Shanghai, is heading out for a new chapter.

Xintiandi Plaza
Source: Handout

In May 2019, Xintiandi Plaza officially opened and is positioned as a lifestyle center mainly targeting urban females, as the 400 million female consumers between 20 and 60 years old in China constitute a major driving force of retail sales growth. By creating novel shopping experience catering to both fashion and social needs, the shopping mall becomes a cultural and social destination. 16 brands entered mainland China for the first time at the mall, including French dessert brand L’Eclair de Génie, Singapore-based PS.Cafe, and Belgian diamond brand Diamanti Per Tutti.

Besides the prominent list of business settled, Xintiandi Plaza also establishes a new retail social experience area called Social House. It is a diverse business ecosystem combining reading, travel, design, cooking, music and sports and features lifestyle brands and workshops such as Joint Publishing and ABC Cooking Studio, offering diverse experiential programs to the consumers. The theme of Social House is obvious since the elements in it, which reflects Chinese customers’ appetite for multifaceted venues, are popular with female clientele.

Installations by Gentle Monster at SKP-S
Source: Gentle Monster

SKP-S: Pushing the boundary of experiential retail in China

Meanwhile in Beijing, SKP is extending its original image by SKP-S to an ultra-futuristic and museum-like one. The highlight of SKP-S is the theme “Digital-Analog Future”. Apart from its avant-garde interior design, SKP-S has collaborated with South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster to set an art installation experience space.

Ultra-futuristic interior design at SKP-s
Source: SKP

What is being regarded as bold as a new retail space is that, different from general department stores, in SKP-S, all the brands change into LED signs with red letters on a black background to display their brand logos, which is a great way to unify the image of the entire shopping mall. Even luxury brands that usually have strict control over their brand image, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier and Valentino, are aligned in this program and they even coordinate their stores’ design with the products, offering a one-of -a-kind offline shopping experience to customers.

From the two iconic shopping malls located in Shanghai and Beijing, we can tell that shopping malls are endeavoring to adapt to the new trends among consumers. From creating experiential space blended with social and cultural elements to inaugurating sharp and avant-garde shopping concepts featuring fashion and art, luxury brands are playing along the new retail approaches of shopping malls, which underlines the idea that to some extent, malls are just a collective party of all the brands.