New-season press previews are a regular occurrence, but for autumn 17 Oasis decided to immerse the customer in the experience, too.
At the end of April, in a dimly lit, moody gallery space at 15 Bateman Street in London called The Extraordinarium, Oasis held its inaugural “customer preview”.
Inside, 100 of the retailer’s top customers were viewing and giving feedback on the autumn 17 collection before it arrives in stores in August. Designed by the in-house Oasis team, the space was packed with curiosities picked by online quirky homeware emporium Rockett St George.
The welcome brochure handed out at the entrance read: “Welcome to The Extraordinarium, a curious little bookshop founded many years ago by Professor Oscar Angus Sis.”
“We chose to extend our seasonal press preview to customers for the simple reason that they are at the core of what we do,” explained Oasis customer director Briony Garbett. “Our hope was that our loyal customers would feel special: they were getting a sneak peek into a world that is cut off from them.”
QR codes on product tags could be scanned into the Oasis app and gave the customer two options to vote: “Love It” or “Not for Me”. Customers could join a waiting list to be notified when the item dropped in store.
Garbett said: “The interaction rate with the QR code voting system was much higher than anticipated, giving us insight into what [our customer] would like to see in store this autumn.”
The experience did not stop there: free tuk-tuk rides were offered to the Oasis flagship on Tottenham Court Road, where food and drink, a monogrammed bag and vouchers were provided. Terrarium-making and calligraphy workshops ran during the day, and there was complimentary nail polish available at the in-store beauty bar, and coffee, tea and prosecco at the cafe.
“Customer experience is paramount,” said Garbett. “In an ever-challenging retail landscape, the winning brands will be those that offer the customer the most engaging and convenient experience.”
The outcome of this project will be difficult to judge until we know the results of the voting, but customers were clearly engaged. App downloads increased by 141% in the two weeks leading up to the event.
“[I’m] so impressed. What a fabulous idea to share this magical experience with your customers. It was great to meet members of the design and buying team,” said one.
Another said: “Such a beautiful immersive experience. It’s a very fresh idea to invite customers into a 360° image of the brand. Lovely.”