Missguided is all about fast fashion and fast delivery.
It is well-known for targeting the ‘I want it now’ generation – girls who want an outfit for Saturday night but don’t want to spend loads of money or time trawling the high street.
On the back of its brash tone of voice and innovate social strategy, the ecommerce retailer has seen rapid growth over the past few years.
Now, it has launched its first ever standalone physical store in London’s Westfield Stratford.
But, is it any good?
I recently paid it a visit to find out more – here are five things to appreciate.
High concept, high impact
Walking into Missguided is a bit of an overload on the senses, but in a good way.
Created by agency Dalziel and Pow, it is designed to mimic a television studio, with the ‘On-Air’ concept reflecting the experience of shopping ‘live’ as opposed to online.
If you’re familiar with the brand’s online branding, you’ll recognise many of the same hallmarks in-store.
There are slogans everywhere, and even its mannequins are typically ‘Missguided’, striking poses and taking selfies around a giant pink monster truck that dominates the bottom floor entrance.
Together with the store’s screen-heavy design and dramatic lighting – it certainly makes for a striking atmosphere.
It’s pretty unlike any other fashion store in Westfield, which is bound to attract Missguided’s target teen-to-20s female audience.
You can probably expect to see many dads and boyfriends waiting patiently outside.
Encourages social sharing IRL
From its Tinder-inspired app to its Instagram feed, everything Missguided does online is inspired by a social-media-obsessed generation.
The physical store is an extension of this, clearly designed to be ‘Instagrammable’ in its own right.
With signs prompting customers to download the app and follow the brand on Snapchat, it cleverly fuses the online and offline experience.
In terms of design, there are cool features everywhere. Even the stairs are mirrored so that customers can see themselves (and take photos) while walking up.
But more than just encouraging sharing on social, it also champions social interaction in-store – in the literal sense that is.
Instead of hiding its fitting rooms in the back, this area is front and centre, complete with a pool party-themed lounge space so that people can hang out while trying on clothes.
Reinforces brand tone of voice
Missguided is quite clever in how it speaks to its target audience, using slang and pop culture references to create a tongue-in-cheek brand voice.
With slogan lightboxes dotted about everywhere, this is another aspect that stands out in-store.
It is used to great effect, with slogans like ‘mermaid party this way’ replacing the expected ‘more clothing upstairs’.
There is the odd eyebrow-raising example, such as the ‘send me nudes please’ sign by the lingerie and the ‘asspirational’ hashtag.
Perhaps these would be less jarring to read online, but it does feel a little different to physically see these types of slogans in massive neon letters.
That being said, it certainly contributes to the brand’s playful and recognisable tone of voice.
And luckily, the tone does err on the side of empowerment rather than coming off as merely outrageous.
What’s more, by pushing the boundaries in this way, the retailer successfully sets itself apart from the comparatively bland-sounding Topshop and River Island.
Creates immersive shopping experience
While Missguided has met the demand for a certain type of digital experience, its new store reflects the increasing desire for immersive shopping.
As well as enabling customers to try before they buy, it also turns the act of shopping into more of an event.
This effect is mainly created in the way everything is set out, with sections separated into distinct and divided ‘sets’.
Similar to the maze-like layout of Ikea and high street store Tiger, this means customers are required to navigate it in a certain way, ultimately creating a much more immersive and explorative experience.
Instead of just popping in for a quick browse, customers are likely to stay and discover new sections as they move around.
Offers exclusive perks
There are a few extra surprises to be found in-store.
One of the most unique features is an own-brand vending machine that sells ‘unicorn dreams’ in place of bog-standard Coke or Fanta.
I later found out that it’s actually bottled water… which now seems rather disappointing.
But while undeniably gimmicky, it is still a great example of how Missguided generates excitement on the back of its own branding.
What other retailer has its own ‘spirit animal’? More to the point, how many times have you seen customers queuing up to buy water in a fashion store? It’s undeniably quirky.
Lastly, the store includes some additional features that are impossible to get online.
From exclusive collaborations with upcoming brands to an in-store pop-up by Wah Nails – it builds on the sense that shopping in-store is more special than online.
I was quite impressed with Missguided’s debut retail outlet.
While I wouldn’t usually shop from the brand online, the fun and quirky nature of its physical store would tempt me to take a look in person. Regular customers are likely to jump at the chance.
By combining an innovative design with clever branding, Missguided has created something quite memorable.
While it’s not quite ‘destination shopping’, it’s certainly given its young demographic another incentive to visit Westfield.