Being made to feel that you are in the vanguard of household appliance consumers is that reason why the new Dyson store will succeed.
You might have thought that a shop selling pretty much nothing but electrical implements that either blow or suck air would have relatively limited appeal. Yet such is the design aura that surrounds Dyson products that the opening of a store bearing the name of the founder and presiding genius has been keenly anticipated.
The two-floor store actually opened last week, on Oxford Street, just along the way from Selfridges, and if you thought there wasn’t much that could be done with a vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer in terms of display, think again. As well as illuminated shelves bearing pots of dirt in order to test-drive the vacuum cleaners, the graphics on the walls are 3D, taking the form of exploded diagrams where all the parts that go into making one of the things work, are explained.
A lot of hot air?
Then there are the hair dryers, a new product area for Dyson and a wall of bladeless dryers finishes with the legend: “It took 600 prototypes to re-think the hair dryer.” And if you still don’t think much of that, there are black screens that you can point one of these devices at which glow a magenta hue as heat hits them – it’s about making the shopper see how heat can be precisely directed.
“The products are not cheap. One of the new hair dryers will set you back around £300, but that’s not the point”
Or put another way, this is the best example in London’s West End of storytelling – giving the shopper the background to the product that is being considered and pointing out why it is better than others that may be looked at. This is Dyson, of course, so the sales associates in their somewhat severe white shirts and black bottoms, look as if they could have stepped out of a Kraftwerk video from the mid-80s. Nothing wrong with that either, the purveyors of German electronica sought to provide us with a vision of the future in much the same way as Dyson is about looking at a workaday piece of consumer electronics and making it different, appealing and futuristic.
The products are not cheap. One of the new hair dryers will set you back around £300, but that’s not the point. Buy something from this shop and it will probably, in large part, be the result of being made to feel that you are in the consumer vanguard. You’ve seen where things are headed and are prepared to pay for it.
It’s all about creating an experience and an environment that will convince and at a stroke Dyson has not only reinvented the hair-dryer, but it has also come close to creating something new in retail. Worth a visit, even if you’ve not got £300 for a hair dryer.