When we spoke to Daylab in Frame 129, cofounder Docee Don outlined China’s biggest current commercial challenge. ‘[It’s] the same challenge faced by the wider world: how to merge online and offline. Here we call the phenomenon xīn líng shòu, or ‘new retail’.’

Daylab expressed its vision of ‘new retail’ – also known as Online-Merge-Offline or OMO – in a physical space in Shanghai for e-commerce platform Heyshop. ‘The client was more concerned with creating a memorable experience for customers than with earning money in-store,’ said Don. ‘If clients enjoy their visit, they’ll order online later.’

And the strategy appears to be working. Daylab has just completed the second Heyshop, on Shanghai’s Yuyuan Road. Calling the new outpost ‘Heyshop 2.0’, the designers wanted to strengthen the OMO/new retail approach in a shopping space that includes hospitality areas and a photo studio – and, unlike the previous Heyshop, also targets males. For Daylab, this mean a more neutral colour scheme as well as using hospitality zones as soft-sell areas, places to grab a coffee with easy access to retail products.

The designers say the success of the first edition was largely down to the way fitting rooms were rethought to enhance the offline experience. ‘Fitting rooms are often the last element to be incorporated into a retail scheme,’ said Don, ‘but, since we feel they play a huge role in creating a great customer experience, they were our starting point and our focus for Heyshop. Two of the fitting rooms are huge, large enough for a group of friends to book for an afternoon of socializing and trying on garments. Brands can also rent a fitting room for a product launch.’


Read about more retail projects here.