Situ Live: It’s Retail But Not As You Know It

I left the house and went out shopping the other day, you might have done so too. And, like my experience, it might also have been something of a disappointment. Because, let’s face it, in the main, retail hasn’t really changed much in over a hundred years, not since the days of Harry Selfridge and his declaration to, “Treat the customer as guests when they come and when they go, whether or not they buy”.

In truth however, the majority to this day pay little attention to that sound advice, believing that if they build it, we will come. And for years we did, and retailers flourished on the back of that sales first, transactional model. Until now, that is.

Think of the time when you first visited a museum or art gallery — the Natural History or the Science museums spring to mind. Or perhaps it was the Tate Modern or the National Gallery. What do they all have in common? The ability to excite, to inspire, to keep us wanting more by presenting something new and wonderful around every corner.

You see, in a post-pandemic world, we need to have a very good reason to visit a shop. One that is compelling. One that we know will stimulate and excite us. And in that regard, there is some good news, because a new kind of retail concept is launching soon; one with a fundamental difference. Because it’s one where you can’t actually purchase anything. That’s right, nothing is for sale — well, directly from the store that is, or to be more precise, the venue.

Instead, what Situ Live promises to deliver when it opens at Westfield London in September is a unique, immersive experience. Brainchild of businessman and self-confessed experiential retail fanatic, Warren Richmond, it is a completely new concept. Occupying 8,000 square foot of space, it promises to be an Aladdin’s Cave of premium brands.

Included are the likes of Maserati, Facebook Oculus, Nordic Track and Bosch who have all signed up to show their brands within ‘theatre’ settings designed to engage with customers in new ways. According to Situ Live, they have, “ripped up the retail rulebook and created a real-life retail playground where products are brought to life through immersive showrooms, live theatrics, and expert storytelling”.

A main stage will provide brands with a platform to launch new products, host talks and live events whilst over in the live kitchen will be cooking up tasty treats whilst showing amazing products in action.

According to Situ Live / Kantar, “70% of consumers want to physically experience products that will enhance their lives”. And that is the essence of the idea behind Situ Live; to showcase brands in a unique setting, and then, to purchase a particular product, customers can simply scan a QR code in order to go direct to the brand online.

Situ Live chief marketing officer, Kirsten Ward said, “Situ Live is a retail destination for the modern era that promises to inspire, entertain, and educate consumers. But safety remains our upmost priority, which is why we’re excited to be partnering with SafePrem Solutions. They are helping us to deliver the smoothest and safest shopping experience possible, providing total peace of mind to visitors of our Westfield London venue”.

In that regard, Situ Live represents something of a first in UK retail, showcasing brands in a new way, whilst at the time, doing so in as safe an environment as possible.

The days of the sales first, transactional, build it and they will come approach, appear to be fading more rapidly than ever before. Because if Harry Selfridge were alive today, he would surely have created Situ Live. After all, as he once said, “Excite the mind and the hand will reach for the pocket”.

Andrew Busby is co-founder of SafePrem Solutions




Global Industry Leader Retail at Software AG, founder Retail Reflections, best selling author, former Forbes contributor, global retail influencer.

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Andrew Busby

Andrew Busby

Global Industry Leader Retail at Software AG, founder Retail Reflections, best selling author, former Forbes contributor, global retail influencer.

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