A small slice of Northern Europe has landed in Hong Kong’s Times Square mall, bringing with it a new shopping concept that aims to free customers from the tyranny of queues and cashiers.
Campaign Asia-Pacific visited ‘Skandiastyle’, a pop-up that opened in Times Square on December 23, to meet its founder Yardley Wong and hear about her vision for a seamless O2O shopping experience, described in the film above.
Wong launched Skandiastyle in July 2017 as a luxury fashion and lifestyle e-commerce platform that brings a collection of Scandinavian fashion and interior brands—including Design House Stockholm, Whyred and Oh! By Kopenhagen Fur—to the region.
In an attempt to extend the concept offline while maintaining the website’s easy user experience, Wong’s pop-up store has no physical POS devices or cashiers: browsing shoppers simply scan a product’s QR code to find out more about it, pay for it on the spot through the e-commerce site and either take it home with them or have it shipped. They can also buy online from home and collect products in store.
Convincing Hong Kong consumers to shop via QR codes still has its challenges, said Wong, compared to shoppers from Mainland China for whom it has become second nature. Local consumers are open to this way of shopping, however, Wong said: particularly when it is combined with the on-trend Scandinavian design and lifestyle concept, which remains relatively novel in Asia compared to in the West.
Wong hopes in the future to extend the pop-up concept beyond the purely commercial, planning a series of workshops centred around Scandinavian themes with the simple aim to “get people together”. “Scandinavians are really good with fur and we’ll have a workshop teaching people how to make fur. Scandinavia also has their own kind of coffee culture, so we’re going to have pop-up coffee shops and teach them the difference, we’ll also do Scandinavian flower arranging,” she said.
Skandiastyle is a good example of a recent drive by Hong Kong retailers to invest in more innovative shopping experiences, said Elisa Harca, regional director of ecommerce strategy agency Red Ant Asia, who worked on the project with Wong.
“There are definitely other brands doing interesting things in Hong Kong as well. There are more and more pop-ups both on a luxury level and an affordable luxury level and consumers and landlords are responding well,” she told Campaign Asia. “Before it would have been hard to get a place in some of the biggest malls but now they are open to it a bit more.”
Skandiastyle will move around Hong Kong and China over the coming year.