Behind the curtain of Fortnum & Mason’s festive windows

25 September 2020, 13:04 PM
  • Zia Zareem-Slade, customer experience director at Fortnum & Mason, explains the role festive windows have to play at the iconic retailer
Behind the curtain of Fortnum & Mason’s festive windows

Fortnum’s windows have become a destination during the festive season for years - do you think they will be as important in 2020, considering the current situation?
Absolutely. Coming to see the Christmas windows at Fortnum’s is part of many families’ traditions and honouring tradition. Doing things (safely) together, is more important than ever. We also need to give people reasons to come into London, and there’s something absolutely magical about London and Fortnum’s at Christmas. It’s been such a strange and turbulent year, and so the reassuring warmth and familiarity of Christmas may be a much-welcomed respite for our people. 

How important are retail destinations?
Retail destinations have always been important for people. Ours is more than simply a shopping experience; we provide theatre and a little escapism and we all need lots of that.

For many years people have said that walking into Fortnum’s is like stopping time - the chandeliers, the red carpet, the exceptional service, the wonder - and that’s what people want and need.

How do you ensure the wonder of your windows is supported by the retail experience?
For me, it’s not about replicating the experience of the windows inside, it’s about designing every touchpoint and moment to build up to the total experience, creating memories for people.

Last year, we went beyond the windows, turning the whole building into the most amazing advent calendar - visible before you get up close to a window, then the windows create the next level of that experience… And once you cross the threshold into the store, then true wonder is created. From the atrium decorations, to the visual merchandising of all the counters, to tasting your mince pie or Christmas Pudding - each element is designed to enrich the connection to Fortnum’s and make joy.

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