For most women, buying lingerie or swimwear can be a torturous experience.

The combination of unrealistic advertising and unflattering lighting means that it’s usually the least enjoyable shopping trip of the year.

Like, I can’t find a bikini, let’s just cancel the holiday...

Body Studio, the latest creative project from Selfridges, is hoping to turn this notion around. 

Capitalising on the wellness trend, it is an entirely new in-store and online department based around lingerie, hosiery, swimwear and sportswear.

Here’s why Body Studio is a great example of creativity within the world of women’s retail.

Empowering content

Whether it’s a Victoria Secret model or David Beckham in his pants, lingerie advertising is often highly sexualised – far removed from the everyday reality of buying underwear.

With ‘Incredible Machines’ – a short film designed to promote the campaign – Selfridges sets a very different tone.

In the video, a number of inspirational women speak about the relationship they have with their own body.

A deliberate move away from traditional advertising, Selfridges uses video as a way of creating conversation as well as promoting its core message. 

With its empowering tone and inspirational subject matter, it’s certainly a refreshing take on the world of lingerie advertising – and a great way of capturing consumer interest in the Body Studio.

By promoting an ethos rather than a product, it is automatically much more memorable.

Unique in-store space

Described as a ‘statement space’, the Body Studio is Selfridges’ attempt to take a neglected category and truly celebrate it.

Instead of resigning lingerie to one corner, it has made it the focus of the largest department in its flagship store.

Part of a five-year refurbishment project, it is designed to be a destination within a destination - a place where people will want to come to explore.

What is unique about the Body Studio is that, despite selling a multitude of luxury brands, the studio itself is heavily promoted as a Selfridges-own service.

Instead of focusing on the designers or even the clothes themselves, the store is much more focused on the overall experience it provides.

Including a 'Fit Studio', two beauty rooms, a Daniel Galvin hair salon and a healthy eating café, it harks back to the days where shopping was an all-day activity and not just a lunch-time browse. 

The first department of its kind, it also signals a shift for retailers. Integrating the categories of wearable technology, activewear and underwear, it highlights the way clothes are now seen as an extension of our lifestyle choices.

Interactive digital experience

The Body Studio digital hub aims to complement the in-store experience, offering a wealth of content related to fashion, fitness and wellbeing.

With its pared-down design, there is a clear focus on editorial, and this makes for an enjoyable and interesting user experience.

As well as features that cleverly advertise products, there are also recipes and interviews - making it feel like more of a lifestyle publication as opposed to just a retail website.

As we've seen from the recent launch of its shoppable app, Selfridges has been focusing on its digital efforts of late. With its 360 degree-video as well as integrated streaming of Body Talk debates, this section of its website is similarly digitally-savvy.

However, what is different here is that the content always points the user’s attention back to the physical experience.

Personally, I found myself far more intrigued by the events happening in-store rather than online.

In conclusion…

While the digital hub provides an interesting glimpse into the Body Studio, it mainly serves as an advert for the flagship department. And ultimately, this appears to be Selfridges’ aim.

More of a creative concept designed to entice shoppers in-store (as well as provide a platform for the growing athleisure industry), it is a great example of how to execute an immersive shopping experience.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 7 July, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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