As young customers redefine luxury market rules in China and in other regions, the retail experience not only has to be “luxurious”, but it also needs to appeal to younger generations to create hype around their products. Recent store audits of leading luxury brands in the US and Asia show a significant gap in several categories in delivering a luxury experience. Brands need to make their retail spaces Instagramable, shareable and relevant to attract young consumers who live their lives using social media apps. Relating to younger customers allows luxury brands to be relevant to a broader audience. How Gucci, Prada and other luxury brands played to win China’s 520 game What works and what does not? It is important not to fall into the trap of engaging in concepts that depart significantly from the brand’s DNA. This strategy will not work. As an example, a leading European luxury car brand opened a concept store (which serves as a restaurant and bar) in Hong Kong about two years ago. The aim was to attract younger customers to the brand who otherwise would not go to the classic showroom. While the objective makes strategic sense, the execution seemed to fall short. The space feels disconnected from the overall brand: it is not Instagramable and there is no immersive, shareable experience that is created. In short, it does not feel authentic. Lack of authenticity is the cardinal mistake in creating the store of the future. It was simply not relevant for the affluent Generation Zers and young millennials the luxury brand tried to target. Why do women’s handbags cost so much more than men’s bags? Once in a while, we see newcomers succeed at this, brands that have been built from scratch to appeal to Gen Zers. The price premiums that those brands achieve in their categories can be remarkable, which shows that generating a relevant experience for young affluent customers pays out. Here are some examples: Kith Treats Why would a luxury clothing and sneaker retailer care about ice cream, and what does Bella Hadid have to do with it? While ice cream would normally not be welcome in a luxury retailer, Kith does everything differently. View this post on Instagram Pantry goals. A post shared by Kith Treats (@kithtreats) on Mar 25, 2020 at 10:33am PDT At the Kith flagship location, a small dessert shop is located on the third floor. These treats are aesthetically appealing and conveniently located in the store, creating an attractive shopping experience for consumers who are visually led and with shorter attention spans. Covid-19 gave the catwalk to VR models – can humans reclaim the spotlight? The brand already has 91,500 followers on Instagram, with its feed showing support from Bella Hadid, as well as collaborations with Nobu and Disney, which can only help it reach out to its respective fans. View this post on Instagram Wishing an indulgent meal tonight to those who are fasting today, and a very happy birthday to our friend Bella. A post shared by Kith Treats (@kithtreats) on Oct 9, 2019 at 7:46am PDT Taiyaki NYC View this post on Instagram A post shared by Taiyaki NYC Japanese Ice Cream (@taiyakinyc) on May 24, 2020 at 12:00pm PDT Also riding the ice cream wave is Taiyaki NYC. The luxury ice cream brand has created a unique dessert that is innovative, original and Instagramable. Inspired by the traditional Japanese dessert taiyaki, the dessert shop was able to attract 160,000 Instagram followers by taking a traditional classic and making it modern, different, relevant and – most importantly – a must-share. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Taiyaki NYC Japanese Ice Cream (@taiyakinyc) on Oct 27, 2019 at 5:32pm PDT The enormous price premiums versus other high-end ice cream places underlines the relevance of the approach. Louis Vuitton just hiked prices in Korea – where will be next? Sketch London Sketch London has perfected the art of looking good enough to share. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Chlöe Carmen (@chloecarmen89) on May 24, 2020 at 12:26pm PDT The aesthetic interior at Sketch, complete with framed prints on the wall and velvet booths, is only matched by its egg-shaped restrooms. These egg pods create a cool spot for Instagram snaps and attract a following to the restaurant. This is an example where the food is not the main attraction at this restaurant, but the decor. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tyler Lynch (@johntylerlynch) on Dec 28, 2019 at 9:30am PST Currently, a large UFO art installation can be found where the bathrooms are, attracting more fans to add to its 333,500 Instagram followers. Why is Gucci pairing stockings with haute couture this season? Cha Cha Matcha This coffee and dessert shop chain is complete with green and pink decorations throughout all of its locations. Known for its matcha treats and drinks, Cha Cha Matcha is at the forefront of trendy coffee shops. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cha Cha Matcha (@chachamatcha) on Dec 7, 2019 at 12:37pm PST Its well-known aesthetic draws in fans as well as followers. Cha Cha Matcha has more than 130,000 followers on Instagram. The shop also features no single-use plastics, attracting younger consumers who favour environmentally-friendly brands. Its Instagram feed follows the pink-and-green colour scheme seen in the stores. View this post on Instagram The Peppermint Matcha Latte is BACK for the holidays Watch stories + come and get it! It’s out now in all of our NY shops now and Friday in LA. PS Peppermint Soft Serve is also out tomorrow! A post shared by Cha Cha Matcha (@chachamatcha) on Dec 5, 2018 at 3:20pm PST Similar to Kith Treats, Cha Cha Matcha also has its own merchandising. The drinks and desserts are all Instagramable, allowing customers to snap pictures inside the shops and of the food. This matcha shop switches up drinks constantly and features seasonal treats as well, enticing fans to return. Are luxury brands rushing too soon to lure Chinese buyers? Don’t be boring What exactly makes for a must-share experience? Just having a store with impressive architecture is not enough. The element of surprise and creative items that make the visit (and more importantly, return visits) meaningful are necessary. We often find, with more traditional brands, those elements are not managed well and are underestimated. When I visit many more traditional stores, the first thought that comes to my mind is: “Why is this so boring?” Here are some of the most important questions I have for luxury brands: how can you make a brand exciting? How can you create a brand story that is so touching to customers that they want to share it? How can you make your brand idea come to life? How can you make it attractive over time, so that your customers have a reason to come back? If you cannot answer those questions clearly, your brand may not be prepared for the future of luxury retail. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .