Luxury Italian shoemaker Sergio Rossi has opened an innovative pop-up retail concept in Milan, on the city’s famous Via Montenapoleone. The walls are entirely made up of Sergio Rossi shoe boxes, which double up as displays and shelving units. Even more attention-grabbing is a 16.5-foot chute that connects the store with the warehouse above – and delivers shoes to the customer.
“This has been a tough period for everyone,” CEO Riccardo Sciutto told FN. “I wanted to do something different and positive that would bring a smile to people’s faces.” Italy retail reopened this week after the hard-hit country emerged from 10 weeks of lockdown.
To ensure customer and staff safety, entry to the pop-up will be by appointment only and slots can be booked via telephone, email, WhatsApp or WhatsApp video. The pop-up is also the first Sergio Rossi store to be fully digitally integrated. The brand posted the contact details on its Instagram this week — and Sciutto said that slots were already booked up for the first five days.
The appointment system isn’t the only safety measure in place. Sciutto also revealed that he has installed a cutting-edge infrared sensor in the ceiling which takes the body temperature of customers as they enter the store — and projects the results on the floor via a laser
The technology was created by a digital start-up that the CEO discovered 25 days ago, he said. Sciutto said he’d been conscious of the need to make the the temperature control process as non-intrusive as possible. “Someone standing at the door with a detection gun could be intimidating for people,” he said.
Dubbed the Magic Kingdom, the concept pays tribute to the brand’s San Mauro Pascoli shoe factory, which is now fully operational again. The idea drew inspiration from the Sergio Rossi fall ’19 presentation at Milan Fashion Week, which involved a Gary Card installation made out of shoe boxes representing the inner workings of the factory.
Sciutto is well aware that shoppers could be reluctant to visit physical stores again. “We need to give them a reason to go out,” he said. “Facing the post COVID-19 era means acting with avant-garde ideas and being smart, with new strategy and storytelling to create a proper atmosphere and psychological context for shopping.”
Sciutto is currently working with the same tech start-up on an update to the system – where the camera will have the capacity to project lines of light onto the floor to flag the three-foot social distancing rule if people get too close.
Looking ahead, the CEO is also working on new ways to present his brand’s spring ’21 collection in September. While he still places emphasis on the importance of human contact and is keen to have a physical presentation, he also acknowledges that everyone may not be willing or able to travel to Milan.
However, although he appreciates the value of platforms such as Instagram as a way to disseminate information, Sciutto prefers to retain an element of exclusivity, limiting access to a chosen few. “Behind the scenes mystery is an important aspect of luxury,” he noted.
Sciutto is also investigating augmented reality technology that would allow the brand to show product that hasn’t even been produced. This would allow the label to solicit press and buyer opinion without traditional samples. “Now is the moment to do things that have never been done before,” he concluded.
More from OPPORTUNITIES
MGM Resorts International is planning to reopen four of its Las Vegas hotels after shuttering all of its U.S. properties in mid-March …
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has debuted its global safety and hygiene stamp, which will allow travelers to recognize governments …
Jumeirah Al Naseem Dubai, first hotel in the world to receive the prestigious Bureau Veritas Safeguard Label
Guests staying at Jumeirah Al Naseem in Dubai can be assured of the highest hygiene standards after the five-star resort …