Bulgari’s Shanghai Flagship: A Lesson In Localization

Figure Eight Chandelier, Serpentine Decor

Bulgari's Shanghai flagship launch (Image: Bulgari Sina Weibo)

Having closed for renovations last month, this week Bulgari opened the doors of its all-new Plaza 66 flagship in Shanghai with a blowout attended by a bevy of local celebrities and featuring a distinctly serpentine theme. Centered around the lighting of a massive snake feature (identical to those seen at Bulgari flagships in New York, Tokyo and Rome) commemorating the Serpenti collection and coming just in time for the upcoming Year of the Snake, Bulgari pulled out all the stops for its grand re-opening.

Among the changes made to the flagship are a completely redesigned jewelry and watch section and separate areas for men’s and women’s collections, as well as a new layout that combines European and Chinese design cues. Indicating a keen understanding of the particularities of male shoppers in particular, discretion is the name of the game in the men’s section, offering more privacy to shoppers in the jewelry and watches section. This greater focus on the men’s section is very timely, since, as Jing Daily recently noted, the male consumer in China accounts for a larger percentage of luxury purchases by the year.

Figure-Eight chandelier (Image: PR)

The centerpiece of the new store, however, is a massive, “figure-eight”-shaped chandelier, hanging above the watches and jewelry section. Though working the number eight — considered auspicious in Chinese culture — into collections, designs or ad campaigns may be the most well-worn localization cliche, Bulgari’s chandelier is somewhat more subtle than previous efforts we’ve seen. The figure-eight chandelier is likely going to be a trademark at new and renovated Bulgari stores throughout the Greater China region, as the company’s Hong Kong flagship — which also unveiled its renovation this week — features its own such centerpiece. Another aspect that should be more than acceptable to Shanghai shoppers is the store’s VIP rooms, featuring mesh sliding walls and plenty of privacy. (A must, given the particularities of China’s top-tier luxury consumers.)

Actress Zhang Ziyi (C) flanked by Bulgari VIPs in Shanghai (Image: Bulgari Weibo)


Fashion, Hard Luxury, Market Analysis, Marketing, Retail