Counter proposals - Issue 122 - Magazine | Monocle

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One thing that online retail can’t offer is a unique in-store experience, something that brings a brand alive. It’s one way for bricks-and-mortar shops to set themselves apart and keep the high street alive and thriving. We’ve selected three examples of places where this is done well.

First is clothing company Woolrich, whose flagship store on Milan’s Corso Venezia is furnished with an Extreme Weather Experience Room, designed in collaboration with Japanese studio Wonderwall, where shoppers can test the brand’s signature parkas at minus 20c surrounded by frosty film footage, no matter how sunny it may be outside.

“The retailers that are struggling are those that haven’t fully integrated offline and online,” says creative director Andrea Canè. “The shop has to offer something different: to connect the brand with the consumer and create a unique experience.”

A similarly engrossing experience is available at Bonds in London’s Coal Drops Yard. Founders Niko Dafkos and Paul Firmin wanted their King’s Cross-based shop to house an Earl of East London lab, where their candles are hand-poured and sold on the spot.

And finally we head to Japan, where 12-storey stationery shop Itoya in Tokyo has a Note Couture counter. This service lets stationery lovers (and aren’t we all?) create their own bespoke notebook, right down to size, colour, binding and type of paper.;;

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