Gen Z-oriented women’s clothing brand Missguided has opened a new flagship store at Westfield Stratford City London, complementing its existing online platform with a physical retail presence. Innovation Researchers Wathanga Muya and Sophia Platts-Palmer took a visit to find out more.
Designing a retail space that relates to the lives and wishes of your target market is crucial, and few brands have been as bold – or as successful – as Missguided. Targeting women between 16 and 35, its new 21,000 square foot store in East London – the first of a planned series – is filled with many of the cultural signifiers of this generation, and infused with the celebrity culture and social media enjoyed by its tech-savvy customers. It’s a market that has served the company well – in the last financial year, it reported sales of £117m, up 34% year-on-year. This success is, no doubt, at least in part thanks to its highly-focused and consistent brand messaging.
The store’s immersive ‘On Air’ concept, executed by design agency Dalziel & Pow, looks to engage with its young female consumers who are self-expressive, fun-loving and of the moment. Taking inspiration from a TV studio, the area encourages Instagram uploads and live Snapchat stories of store highlights such as the striking unicorn mannequins and the centrepiece monster truck installation. Digital screens of the models above the rails showcasing the clothes mimic the online experience, blurring the line between the online and offline offerings. The mezzanine also adds to the customer journey, directing the shopper to new areas of the store including the Wah Nails concession stand and its own-brand vending machine selling ‘unicorn dreams.’
Speaking the language of the consumer is essential for brands looking to integrate into the lifestyles and culture of their audience. Whether it’s in encouraging engagement on social media or the witty adaptation of familiar slogans such as, ‘Eat, pray, slay,’ and, ‘True embarrassment lies within your first email address,’ that are congruent with the sense of humour of its target market, Missguided has leant into communicating with its customers on their own terms.
The design of the store is expressive, unapologetically confrontational and establishes a clear brand message that translates seamlessly from their online marketplace. Mirrored surfaces, insta-filtered polaroids, digital screens and pink neon-lit signs have all added to the theatre of the store. This strategy empowers shoppers to make choices that express themselves and establish themselves in a community centred on the brand.
Although its brash branding may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s this courage of conviction in its identity and how this specific narrative is communicated to a demographic that is commendable. Delivering relatable messages confidently, Missguided is an example of how bricks-and-mortar retail can still be relevant, authentic and engaging by acting on attitude, and placing experiences before product.