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How the Creatives Maintain the Selfridges Prestigious and Creative Brand by Their Design

A Case study Assessment on How the Creatives Maintain the Selfridges Prestigious and Creative Brand by Their Design

IntroductionHow the Creatives Maintain the Selfridges Prestigious and Creative Brand by Their Design

The most popular department stores in the United Kingdom is Selfridges. According to Yelp, Selfridges is one of the major finest department stores in the world. The department stores are filled with high quality products ranging from high fashion to wardrobe coordination, hi-fi, to wedding lists and many more. Selfridges dominates the west end of Oxford Street in the United Kingdom and was constructed with six floors providing about ten acres of shopping space, two exhibition halls, eleven places to eat, and countless services. It’s a shop that is needed and would be wished to be shopped by everyone.

However, there have been different views relating to shopping at Selfridges. According to my survey, different people have various opinions about their reason for shopping at Selfridges. The survey listed some major factors that could be a reason for shopping at Selfridges, these include the designer products, customer service, visual displays such as the interiors, window dressings or exhibitions, and any other reason that may be specified by the respondents. But with this survey, I’ve been able to see that there are many factors that the creative managers bear in mind in order to ensure Selfridges maintains their successful heights and keeps thriving in the marketplace. They have to innovate various strategies to go about this, therefore, their designs (visual displays) become more paramount to them. Because Selfridges continually provides the best needs of their customers worldwide as well as maximize their operational efficiency, their creative teams strive to maintain Selfridges’ prestigious and creative brand by their designs.

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Selfridges is a group of organization that provides leading luxury shopping experiences for their customers worldwide through innovative, iconic, and inspiring retail destinations. The organization was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge, and was opened March 15, 1909. It had been declared as the second largest department store in the United Kingdom after Harrods. Around the 1940s, Selfridge smaller provincial stores were sold to the John Lewis Partnership, and in the earliest year in the 1950, the store on Oxford Street was acquired by the Liverpool-based Lewis’s chain of department stores. And in 1965, the Sears Group by Charles Clore took over Lewis’s and Selfridges. After then, they expanded under the Sears group and then included other branches in Birmingham and Manchester. And in 2003, Canada’s Galen Weston acquired the chain for £598 million. (“Selfridges History”)

The success of Selfridges has continued expanding at a fast rate with relentless innovative marketing strategy, which have been massively expressed in the Oxford Street store.  The designs of the store had made a substantial impact on the organization as people are attracted to what they see. The idea behind this was based on American phenomenon. (Rappaport, 2000). Because Selfridges was made for people to have a memorable shopping experience and also a fun adventure, and it could also be a form of leisure, not just a chore. The department store is a transformation into a more cultural and social landmark that had provided customers, especially women the opportunity to be comfortable and can legitimately indulge themselves in a public space. The design of the department store is established to create a welcome environment, with an attempt to place merchandise on visual display for customers to be able to examine the goods, and used the space within the store to display the most essential goods, and then established policies that makes it easier and safer for customers to shop in convenience. This had been the strategy used by Selfridges to make great success, and many other modern department stores have adopted this strategy around the world today.

Furthermore, Selfridges, with their years of experience in establishing innovation to their marketing strategies. They try to attract shoppers with scientific and educational exhibits. This is because the founder, Selfridge was himself interested in science and education, and he believes that the visual displays in the store will introduce the organization to other potential new customers, and thus, generate both immediate as well as long-term sales. (“Selfridge History”)

One of the major strategy employed at the earlier stage of the construction of Selfridges was the architectural design which portrays an innovative and excellent atmosphere for tourist destinations, making customers all over the world to not only come shopping, but for tourism as well. The original store in London as designed by Daniel Burnham, he was the one who also established the Marshall Field’s main store in his hometown in Chicago. He was the one who also designed the leading American department store of the time and had worked in New York (Gimbel’s, Wanamaker’s), Boston (Filenes’s), and Philadelphia (Wanamaker’s). (Hines, 1940) Selfridges, London was built in phases. The phases incorporate a nine-and-a-half bays very close to the Duke Street corner which is actually he first phase.  The building methods followed strict construction system of the United Kingdom. The construction of the design of the store also included architect Francis Swales, an American based architect who is specialized on decorative details, as well as British Architects Thomas Smith Tait and R. Frank Atkinson. (Morrison, 2003) The entrance of the store is a distinctive polychrome sculpture, which is a work of British sculptor Gilbert Bayes. The outward design of the store shows a sculptural design constructed above its entrance on the Oxford Street in London. This, according to the Daily Telegraph was named the world’s best department store in 2010. (Collins, 2010)

The other store at Trafford was constructed with the use of marble and stone or its exterior, which was made to look like the London store. While each of the five floors of the Manchester store, known as the Exchange Square store was designed differently following a unique feel and look. Although in December 2009, the officials proposed to undergo a massive renovation to give it an iconic look that portrays an association with Selfridges.

Additionally, Selfridges have taken window dressing or exhibitions to be a very paramount aspect to captivate customers. Selfridges’ windows are now synonymous with the brand, and to a certain extent, it had become as popular as the organization and Oxford Street location itself. The major vision of Selfridges is to use designs to continually excite customers and also provide all the needs they desire from the store. This they do by using their initiatives of theatrical, bold art for their window designs. The man Selfridge himself associates the act of shopping to the act of going to a theater, and therefore customers are encouraged to make a connection with respect to the window exhibition with silk curtains. The windows are always covered and are dramatically unveiled for display on opening days. (Rappaport, 2000) Selfridges’ tradition is to capture the public’s attention by using the window designs as the opening act of the entire play just to create a memorable experience in order to transform customers into true shoppers. These windows have consistently attracted tourists, fashionists, and designers  all over the world with respect to the current styles, designs, and the fashion trends. London photographer, Andrew Meredith has consistently photographed the windows since 2002, and has published them in magazines such as the The New York Times, Icon, Vogue, Creative Review, Hungarian Stylus Magazine, as well as many other worldwide media outlets. (Sinclair, 2012)

The Alternatives

This case study is a transparence of the reality of the vision Selfridges stand for. Customers, and people from every part of the world have been captured by the innovative designs the creative managers are developing to ensure customers continually get through the door and their brands are promoted and still meet up with the world standard. According to Mark, Selfridges utilizes whispering windows to lure and stimulate customers to shop around in the company. Mark points that Selfridges attempts to attract passers by using a double sensory assault. They have also used audio visual agency Freehand to develop new window display installation in the department stores in London. They enhanced the shop window display using animated visuals emanating from a Casio XJ-ST155 Laser and LED hybrid projector.

In addition to this, they try to stun people with some sound effects, in which the visuals are mixed together with a Whispering Window system from FeONIC. This as a result catches the attention of the people who walk by the store. Some other high street mortar and brick stores have put together tough and well documented fight against online retailers, they do this in order to get people to notice the importance of their marketing science. However, Selfridges employs the UK AV agency freehand to develop a combined AV shop front display to attract more attention on the street, and also capture more people into the store. (Mark, 2012)

The Design Features

Selfridges is provided with sophisticated, creative managers who have articulated the details of innovative design concepts over the years. They employ highly mechanized technology, which helps promote the brands Selfridges is made of. Some of their curations include the installation of windows on the store’s Duke Street frontage, the Concorde Jet Engines, which incorporates a spectacular visual display of science, engineering, and communication, discarded lamps and shades, perfect and luminous light fittings with low energy bulbs wrapped in a shrink jacket; interpreting the aesthetic, providing a unique light and brightness to make the store more attractive.

Also, there exist secret wars, this is what De Zeen magazine referred to as a battle between design artists, it is associated with fight club with pens. Since competition is taken in every part of the world, the window is filled with the path of the marker pen running riot all over the walls, props, and floor. It doesn’t just leave an ink trail, but every line is made up of drawings crafted by some of the Secret War finest artists. (“De Zeen Magazines”)

There also exists, the production of a multifaceted mirrored kaleidoscope produced by Designer Jim Rokos and Photographer Toby Summerskill. They collaborated to put the sculpture which is made of mirrors together, and covered with a brand new radiant light film obtained from 3M which transforms from one colour to the other when walking pass the window. There are also symbiotic exchange processes that take place between the shop and the customers, because of the designs put in place. The use of flowers, where there are ‘shop windows’ of plants designed by nature developed to attract insects and bees towards them. Because without these insects, those particular plant species will not survive. This plants create the most attractive polysensorial experiences, employing textures, colours, fragrance, function and form that develops natural design to its best standard. (“De Zeen Magazine”)

Furthermore, Selfridges continually draws nature to its design which helps it thrive excellently in the global world. There are new windows that have been adopted over the years, which employs a unique design knowhow and enticing techniques of nature. Many of the designs were put together following strict mathematical studies. According to Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, a design specialist in Selfridges, some of the design follow  geometric circular form derived from a mathematical study  Phyllotaxis; which comprises of proper arrangement of florets put together in a spiral pattern. It is used in a window and has gentle motion behaviour just exactly like a living organism. The major focal point is that it should interact with passers-by, as well surreptitiously seducing these people. Another design feature includes the chandeliers developed by Charlie Davidson. It is made to rotate around the mannequins. They also concentrated on the walls, making it black and then covered it with tiny fragments of the window’s photograph. (“De Zeen”)

The Major Challenges

Since the goal of the creative designs is to help Selfridges maintain their prestigious and creative brand, Selfridges continues to develop more design features, but many customers have many other reasons to either shop at Selfridges or not. Despite many opinions from people on why they are not motivated to shop at Selfridges, they continually accounts for an expansive sales annually. However, they have also accounted for a rise in tax-free shopping, and developing newer service departments. (King, 2015) This is put together for international consumers, in order to deliver an extraordinary customer experience.

Many people, especially those with low income might see Selfridges having too expensive brands to shop, and therefore they may restrain themselves. On the other hand, customers are still motivated to shop at Selfridges. The fact remains that consumers actually go through various stages before purchasing products or services for their end use. Many factors also influence purchasing decisions, and thus, when consumers get the best experience from a store, they become repeat buyers, and would continually shop from a particular store.

Basically, factors that influence a consumer’s decision to buy ranges from social, psychological, and economical. In Selfridges, the possibility for consumers to purchase more products at a very high level could be narrowed down to a festive season. In other words, consumers have the tendencies to buy more during this season than every other month. However, when there’s a fluctuation in the financial markets as well as recession, individual’s buying capacity may also be decreased.

Also, there are many brands associated with Selfridges, some of which includes Apple, Burberry, Armani, Chanel, Celine, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Calvin Klein, Paul Smith, Church Fendi, Max Mara, Kate Spad, Victoria Beckham, Lulu Guiness, Mulberry, MiuMiu, etc. These brands are strongly held in the highest esteem and Selfridges creatives continually ensures that the necessary designs are put in place to enhance the productivity of these brands. However, these brands are one of the major reasons why many people come to shop at Selfridges. Many consumers believe that since these brands are associated with Selfridges, then it becomes necessary to shop at Selfridges, and also because a larger population shop there, this makes newer consumers shop there, thereby assisting Selfridges maintains the prestigious brand they are made of.

Finally, one important aspect of every organization is just not how beautiful the organization is, or what product they offer, but the level of customer services. Customer services is also not based on making customers like the service of an organization, or making them feel treated well, but it should targeted at getting customers talking. An extraordinary customer service is focused on the customers; it’s innovative, deliberate, and genuine. When an organization commits to a memorable customer’s experience, they would be known for it and this will help better referral attracted to the products and designs of the organization. At Selfridges, the customer services are doing their best to ensure they provide customers with maximum satisfaction, but according to this survey, those who have shopped at Selfridges do not have a good remark about the level of customer service provided. And this is not enough to bring them back to the store.

The Case Study Assessment

According to the statistical analysis of my case study, the respondents who rarely go to Selfridges are about 5.56% with only one person, those who go once in a while are about 72.22% with only 13 persons, and those who go everytime are about 22.22% with only 4 persons. This implies that, there are possibilities that those who rarely go may shop online, or possibly go there for tourism, or any other reasons applicable to them.

According to the case study, the reasons associated with going to Selfridges were specifically accounted to the designer product by 66.67%, customer service by 27.78%, visual display by 61.11%, and others specified their own reason and regarding it to the variety and the range of the products offered, good selection of spirits, for tourisms, and the sales discounts. It is obvious from this survey that the major reason for going to Selfridges is not only because of the visual display, but other reasons attributable.

The case study also points out, whether the visual display (designs) plays a major role in their spending. Definitely those who find their way there can tell if the displays entice them to buy more products. And only 77.78% of respondent agreed that the visual displays affect their spendings. And of course 22.22% disagreed. This implies that the designs as well as the displays encourage some people to buy more goods. In addition to this, the responses also show that the design has a lot to do with their buying capacity. According to a respondent, “The visual displays always show something new and different compared to all other stores. For example, Selfridges was the first store on Oxford Street to launch its Christmas window display, which was a massive talking point amongst customers and staff.”  And another respondent says, “The environment that Selfridges creates makes shopping a fun experience. The layout and visuals make shopping very easy and appealing,” “The visual displays they have is beautiful, but it won’t make me change my mind about a product. It’s nice to look at it, especially if one of the brands is launching a new collection and also during festive seasons.” Therefore, the designs are a great means of encouraging customers to buy more.

Finally, the case study shows that respondents’ major experience after they visit Selridges are the designer product and visual display, with 50% and 44.44% respectively, with only 5% experience for customer service. Therefore, it means that the attractiveness of the designer products and the design of the organization keep Selfridges having many more customers.


Selfridges Group continually puts their customers at the heart of everything they do. The creative team is developing many other strategies in ensuring that their customers are assured of an extraordinary and unique experience with the design features at Selfridges. They are known for theatrical, artistic innovation and they will keep inspiring their customers with evolving, refined, and innovative concepts ensure customers keep walking through the doors. Based on the case study, customers care about the passion a luxury experience, and the brand product they have come to shop. Therefore, the major recommendation is for Selfridges to always ensure they increase the nature of their customer services, so that they can remain flawless, and also continually help customers discover new things that would excite, surprise, amaze them to ensure they remain prestigious.


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