- Patagonia chose to land its new store in Nanjing’s first open-air community centre instead of being featured inside a shopping complex.
- A large extent of its clothing is in earth tones, as Chinese consumers do not favour bright colours in contrast to their western counterparts.
- To better resonate with local environmental activists, Patagonia has been organising events on a regular basis in Nanjing since 2016.
American outdoor clothing brand Patagonia unveiled a new store in Nanjing, the capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province. This marked the brand’s fifth point of sales in mainland China, with the remaining four sitting in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou.
Founded in 1973, the outdoor gear maker has holistically integrated environmental protection into its DNA and has been at the forefront of taking care of the earth for years. In the words of brand founder Yvon Chouinard, “Earth is now our only shareholder.”
In contrast to the other storefronts being featured inside shopping complexes, Patagonia chose to land its new one in Jinling STYLE, the first open-air community centre in Nanjing, infused with art exhibitions and outdoor recreational space. The area is surrounded by large lawns and consumers are encouraged to be in touch with nature such as camping or strolling around, which exemplifies a leisurely atmosphere, and is in perfect line with the apparel retailer’s environment-related tone of voice.
Special items for Chinese consumers
Patagonia has always placed an emphasis on product display and visual merchandising, as the brand believes that an eye-catching product display will effectively leverage consumer engagement and encourage them to try on new items.
Therefore, the two-story shop in Jinling STYLE offers a versatile option for local shoppers to immerse themselves and dive into the outdoor clothing brand’s world. On the first floor, outdoor gear for women, men, and kids is dedicatedly presented there, with a screen embedded on the wall playing Patagonia’s evolving history and community stories. Meanwhile, travel luggage and professional equipment are exhibited on the second floor with a focus on climbing, surfing, and fly fishing.
Notably, to tailor to consumers’ tastes, most products featured there are casual clothes designed to be worn for daily and leisure activities. Due to this reason, most shoppers perceive Patagonia to be a leisurewear label. Furthermore, when it comes to the colour scheme, a large extent of its clothing is in earth tones, as Chinese consumers do not favour bright colours in contrast to their western counterparts.
Nature-themed activities for local shoppers
After the brand set a foothold in China, nature enthusiasts and environmentally conscious consumers in mainly first-tier and new first-tier cities have been the target audience for this outdoor clothing brand.
To better resonate with local environmental activists, Patagonia started organising events on a regular basis in Nanjing since 2016, including repairing old clothes, nature-themed movie screenings, mountain hiking, and so much more. By doing so, Patagonia amassed a sturdy consumer base and built up a foundation for its new store opening.
It’s worth noting that, a leisure space has been set up on the second floor of the Jinling STYLE shop, so as to provide a fixed space for community events. Prior to this, community members had to venture to different spots to participate in events. In celebration of the new storefront landing, free entry-level fly fishing courses were offered by Patagonia in the space and drew in a noticeable number of consumers.
Nanjing is one of the few remaining Chinese cities which has mountains and waters amongst a mixture of modern architecture. For example, the Yangtze River flows past the west side and then the north side of Nanjing city. Patagonia opening a store in this location sets an expectation that they will want to launch more close-to-nature stores in the future.
Tracing back to 1986, the clothing brand launched its first flagship store in an abandoned factory full of natural light which was attached to a garden in San Francisco. As for the store design principles, Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia stated, “every store should be unique and resonate with the local characteristics.”
The store’s features in Jinling STYLE are in line with this philosophy, complete with a curved roof and wooden structure. By drawing inspiration from mountain ridges and water waves, the brand’s new retail space echoes the distinctive charm of Nanjing city.
By sticking to its environmentally-friendly mission without using sustainability as a PR stunt, Patagonia has won over a group of local nature enthusiasts. With outdoor recreations gaining ever-increasing traction in China in the post-pandemic era, the brand is getting noticed by younger demographics, with Patagonia-related topics amassing over 5.3 million notes on the country’s largest lifestyle-sharing platform Xiaohongshu.
Standing in the centre of outdoor leisure hype in China, along with the brand’s insightful understanding of local consumers’ tastes, the new brick-and-mortar in Nanjing is set to gain great favourabilities from a wider audience.