WOW, Madrid! welcomes the shopping experience of the future

WOW is the new style of shopping center in one of the most important avenues of the capital of the Iberian Peninsula: Gran Vía. With the idea of revolutionizing the concept so far about the way of shopping, it becomes the store of the future, which is based on an Asian model and arrives for the first time in Madrid.

This store covers a total of 5500 square meters, which are spread over 8 floors and were formerly part of the Hotel Roma. An old building that was erected in 1915 and was a very important part of social life at that time. So, now it has been remodeled with this new style of shopping, in which you visit the store, try on the garment you like and then, if you want to buy it, you can get it online.

This revolutionary concept encompasses different areas, such as technology, cosmetics, fashion, decoration, gastronomy, among others; a multi-brand store, with about 250 of them. The designer of this new shopping style has been Mr. Dimas Gimeno, former president of the El Corte Inglés chain of stores. This shopping center has just opened its doors to the public last March of this year. 

A little bit of history about the previous building of the Hotel Roma, until arriving at WOW:

Mr, Gimeno tells that the Hotel Roma, after the Spanish Civil War, had to close its doors; and along with it also disappeared the famous Capitoline wolf, which was its characteristic element. Then, after several renovations, the place became the headquarters of the famous Banco Ibérico. Later it was sold to the Central Bank and then it was incorporated to Banco Santander.

In 2001, this building became home to the Justice Department of Madrid; and then, by coincidence of life, this project called WOW Concept crossed the history of this old building, to put it back on track. They were 2 years of some reforms that have marked the beginning of this iconic building; including the Capitoline wolf at the level of its heights; which has become its identity. 

What were the obstacles encountered along the way to achieve this WOW project?

The former president of the famous Corte Inglés mentions that they have had some obstacles, but they were overcome over time; starting with finding the right space like this, the former Hotel Roma. Also convincing 250 brand owners to join the project, which had not yet taken shape but has good backing from 2 investment funds.

It is evident that the new concept of WOW was very new, which is defined as a retail concept, where the physical initiative is combined with the digital platform; they call it phygital or figital. In other words, it is a new experience for both traditional and emerging brands; both working in the same space, in a physical store and online, with or e-commerce. 

Of course, this implies a 180-degree turn in the way of shopping, saying goodbye to uniformed sales clerks, as well as to traditional cash registers and, of course, to static shop windows; everything is changed by new patterns and rules of modernity.

There are digital fitting rooms, smart mirrors, very different decorations and architecture and a repertoire of temporary and rotating brands, launching exclusive capsule collections. In short, as Mr. Gimeno himself says, “What is being done is that you buy digitally in a physical space”; where the physical and digital are diluted, being fully integrated.

This concept and type of sales is very popular in Asian countries, such as South Korea, Japan and China, giving very good results. An alternative that is gradually being introduced in Europe; where you can experiment in the store, then try on the merchandise to get to know it better and finally purchase it through online sales.

What do we need to know about its internal distribution?

The place is divided into sections or floors and each one has its own theme; in addition to the micro architecture, which was the work of architect Carmelo Zappulla, with spaces showing giant and classic statues, some inspired by the Metaverse and others have landscapes with marine colors; also certain different shapes, to present the decorative pieces or tableware, among others.

These plants or divisions cover items ranging from technology, beauty and fashion for both sexes to home decoration and ending with gastronomy. The team of workers is of 80 employees with experience in stores, covering all the plants and about 50 at the office level; they were chosen exhaustively and with the requirement to speak several languages, such as French, Italian, Chinese and others.

Also, interactive screens are located on each floor, so that potential customers can make their purchases from the physical space of the store, but online; they can also be made from the cell phone. This makes it easier for the customer to receive his order directly at home, if by chance at that moment the product is not available; there is also no need to go through any cashier.

How are your different floors distributed internally?

So, we start with the lower floor or basement, which has been dedicated to everything that is technology, ideal for lovers of this activity, with the latest generation devices; also Bang & Olufsen audio equipment, Razer video games, PlayStation, Devialet amplifiers, among others. It is represented as a kind of water world.

If we go up we reach the street floor, i.e. the 1st floor, where customers are welcomed as they enter. This is the area dedicated to both cosmetics and perfumes. For example, in cosmetics they have 6 brands such as Rowse, Rassa or Mid night. In perfumery, well-known brands such as Chanel, Loewe, among others. 

Then, from the 2nd to the 4th floor they are dedicated to fashion, to clothes of different styles. Then, the 2nd and 3rd floors are called Fashion Hub, showing the brands WOW Walk and Ready to WOW, emerging and consolidated brands such as Lacoste, Marni, Samsoe&Samsoe, Studio Amelia, the French Musier, Coperni with its bags, Palomo Spain, Moisés Nieto, Amlul and others. 

An interesting detail is that the floor emulates an interactive fashion runway, seats on the sides, luminous fiberglass curtains and all the necessary atmosphere to make you feel like you are in a fashion show.

On the 4th floor, called Urban District, is located the fusion of lifestyle or urban fashion and sport; Streetwear. Athleisure garments, brand name sneakers and some yoga accessories; a space with interesting lighting systems.

On the 5th floor is located the Home Boulevard, everything related to decoration and design, a floor that stands out for its blue color; it also has a terrace, a lounge, a recording studio and a cabinet with some curiosities. 

Also, further on we see a section in pink with figures or dolls of the same color, where you can see collection books by Taschen, Assouline, as well as tableware, Vitra furniture, complements by Branqueta, Serax, Tom Dixon, Pols Potten, Scandle and much more.

The top floors will be dedicated to gastronomy, with a variety of chefs from highly successful restaurants and led by the founders of TriCiclo. The idea is to hire about 40 different chefs annually and get four-handed experiences, and present traditional Madrid cuisine. It will also have a cooking school, a digital museum and a concert hall. 

Important information for the entrance to the WOW store:

From the day of its opening, and due to the long queues that form to be able to enter the store, it is recommended to those interested that they should purchase online and with some anticipation their ticket, which allows priority access; in this way they avoid unnecessary queues; in addition, the entrance is free. 

Posted in Europe, Madrid, Spain.