If I asked you what you thought a 'social store' was, what would you say?

A community store perhaps, maybe even a charity store, possibly even a foodbank?

The daily pressure on physical retailers around the world to meet the expected demands from stay at home consumers has never been greater.

The bar to compete has been lifted higher than ever before with the ongoing surge in use of digital commerce from eCommerce websites, Apps, Social Media, and now 'Social Commerce' - all accelerated further by this crisis.

For many retailers that bar has proven to be far too high as retail and other sector casualties appear in our headlines on an almost daily basis. 

I write about the rise of 'Social Commerce' quite a lot, in fact the majority of innovation in this space isn't coming from Facebook or Instagram it's coming out of China and for those with a commercially savvy brain I strongly recommend you keep an eye on this space, but simply watching and not doing is another matter.

Why is this? - because we now see luxury brand 'Burberry' taking the 'social' initiative to a whole other level of retail innovation. 

Burberry has partnered with China's tech giant Tencent to launch a luxury concept store using social media interactions.

The British retailer opened its first "social retail store" on Friday in Shenzhen, China's technology hub.

The companies want to roll the concept out across Burberry's network in China.

Tencent's WeChat social messaging platform, China's equivalent of WhatsApp, plays a big role in this new customer experience. The app has more than 1bn users in China. A WeChat programme allows shoppers to unlock exclusive content and personalised experiences which they can share on their social media networks.

All the clothes are labelled with QR codes which show product information on the customer's phone when scanned. (link below)

The unabated rise of the micro influencer, some of which are being utilised by brands to showcase the next big thing exposing said brand to the influencers network in anticipation that some of that 'social cred' will turn into commercial opportunities. 

TV shopping has been doing a variation of this for years, brands take a product, get a slot, test the sales response and if the numbers look good - bingo happy days all around.

Thing is with TV shopping, whilst it has a huge following on/offline it's still perceived by many as a somewhat outdated concept, mainly because the format has stayed the same since QVC entered the world of shopping from the tv in the 20th Century - when was the last time you tuned into a TV shopping channel unless by accident in your hotel room?.

As a 'growth' consultant my approach is always based on 'leverage and build'. Which in plain english means let's take what you have built today to see if we can leverage it to build a new set of growth opportunities.

There is one sector that in my humble opinion are already set up to really exploit this opportunity with physical retail. And this is the TV shopping sector which includes the mighty QVC, HSN, and over in the UK Ideal Shopping TV, and many more.

They already have the know how to leverage technical, resource, and back office logistics. 

The global opportunity for them to attract the non celebrity influencers (your employees) to leverage the value of those assets, IP, and commercial opportunities must be immense.

Food for thought, or business as usual in retail and TV Shopping land?