China's deal-seekers now have another destination close to home. As part of Shanghai Village's grand debut on May 19, shoppers welcomed the opening of 140 high-end boutiques that provide customers up to 75 percent discounts on a range of big-name fashion, homeware, and lifestyle brands. Meanwhile, the adjacent Shanghai Disney Resort is already giving some tourists a sneak preview ahead of their June opening, and these visitors likely will spill over to new the luxury outlet and lifestyle spot located within the sprawling Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone.
The shopping mecca is brought to Shanghai by European outlet company Value Retail, which opened its first location in China in May 2014 in Suzhou in addition to its nine other locations in Europe. Shanghai Village is expecting to bring in mainly local tourists, but its proximity to Disneyland should also attract an international market. Still, its consumer strategy aims to satisfy the goal put forth by Value Retail's local partner, state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group, which manages the entire zone that includes Disneyland: to encourage outbound Chinese travelers and big spenders to give back to the domestic economy.
The first group of shoppers had the chance to try out Value Retail's VIP services aimed at helping clients easily and efficiently navigate the 55,000-square-meter space. Designed with an internationally-inspired Art Deco theme, taking cues from artist movements in New York, Paris, Milan, Vienna, and Shanghai, the village also offers an array of restaurants and cafes with Chinese and European cuisine, plus a range of sites dedicated to allowing visitors to enjoy a heightened cultural and art-related shopping experience. In fact, Shanghai Village prides itself on offering a second level of experience that goes beyond consumption, which comes through via exhibitions and promotional events, continuing right down to the architecture.
Shanghai Village thus features exclusive lounges each dedicated to an artist that was part of the Art Deco movement. Georgia O'Keefe is represented in the New York Quarter, while on Boulevard Veysseyre, the co-founder of the Orphism movement Sonia Delaunay provides a visual feast for fans of abstract art. Additionally, the buildings throughout the village were designed using inspiration from the various global Art Deco disciplines, such as Shanghai’s “Hai Pai”, and also nod to famous buildings like New York's The Waldorf-Astoria.
“We are very pleased to welcome our first guests to Shanghai Village on the opening day and to see the Village’s streets come to life with people enjoying not only the beautiful boutiques, but exploring its architecture, the lounges and our many exhibits,” Value Retail China CEO Mark Israel said in a statement. “Shanghai Village will provide an unparalleled shopping experience serving millions of domestic and international visitors to the resort zone, as well as the discerning shoppers of the Greater Shanghai Area.”
In a clear effort to engage with and show loyalty to its discerning customers, Shanghai Village greets all guests with “ambassadors” at the gate and provides two welcome centers that supply a range of services, from gift-wrapping to pet trolleys. It also offers a membership program that provides insider information and invitations to events and brand promotions. Fans can look forward to a second phase of the project next year, during which 60 more boutiques are scheduled to open.