STORE DESIGN: Fancy a tipple?

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Add to your customers’ retail experience with a champagne bar.

By Courtney Hagen

A growing number of jewellery retailers are providing additional services to enhance the shopping experience with in-store champagne and wine bars.

The 102-year-old family-owned Wakefields Jewellers is quite literally shaking things up in their West Sussex boutique with a bespoke glass champagne bar created for customers to enjoy a tipple.

“We believe that every client, whether they are in for a watch battery or an engagement ring, should have exceptional service,” says Wakefields’ co-owner Melanie Wakefield. “Everyone is seated and offered a drink. This is normal and has been for years.”

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The bar is part of an initiative to craft individual retail spaces throughout the larger boutique. Wakefields has recently fitted out a Rolex room in store and there are plans in the pipeline to highlight the current acquisition of Bremont watches.

Wakefield says that the bar is by far one of the most popular aspects of the store and is used seven days a week, serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fruit juice, water and champagne to shoppers, and big bowls of sweets to keep children happy. There is also a dedicated bartender on Saturdays. “It’s a sociable thing to do,” says Wakefield. “We might go through 12 bottles [of champagne] on a Saturday if there is a Pandora event on.”

Rox stores in Glasgow and Edinburgh boast Moët-sponsored champagne bars, housed within the invite-only Thrill Rooms, which double as private consultancy spaces. Customers can lounge on putty-coloured sofas, surrounded by the glitz of chandeliers and full-length mirrors, while browsing jewellery or discussing bespoke designs. Rox founders Grant Mitchell and Kyron Keogh teamed with award-winning interior design firm Graven Images to create the spaces, the same firm responsible for the eclectic interior of the Missoni Hotel in Edinburgh.

In the scope of a larger department store, Fortnum & Mason also sought to include a bar area in the jewellery room redesign carried out by 20.20 Limited last year. 20.20 Limited’s client director for fashion and department stores Sanela Lazic claims the bar is all a part of the overall retail design process. “We believe that customers will engage with all levels of store experiences at some point in their journey,” says Lazic. “20.20 creates experiences that always start with the customer. We put them at the heart of our process and the brief, and look for the moments of truth that will enrich our thinking and creativity. We connect these customer insights with the retail knowledge, trends and best practices – before we create experiences that are exclusive to our clients’ brands and personalised for their customers.”

This small attention to detail does have its pros and cons. Running a bar bill in a retail outlet is no small feat, even for large brands. Wakefield says a significant portion of their budget goes into sourcing the champagne for their bar, but they now use local wine merchants to negotiate prices.

“Yes, the bar takes up valuable retail space, but the wow factor and the service pay dividends,” says Wakefield. “I only wish it was more visible as clients walk into the store, because I would love it to double as a reception area to guide clients to the right person or area of the store. So we may change it; as always we are ever-evolving.”

This feature was taken from the September issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.
 

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