Sergio Rossi is launching a new location and innovative pop-up retail concept today 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.
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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.
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-3 to the opening of the new #SergioRossiMilano pop-up: the #WonderMachine Store. We can’t wait to walk you through the new collection and start a new chapter together. At this time we care most about your safety, so don’t be shy, contact us directly on WhatsApp at +39 340 1518117 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment at the store or online!
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.
He hopes that this additional technology will be ready in 10 days, observing that this is a much more elegant system for a luxury retail environment that having lines taped onto the floor.
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.
With that in mind, the executive plans to combine an intimate presentation with a virtual showroom and Zoom calls for selected visitors.
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.