Leading online retailer Yuppiechef has announced the launch of their first official physical store, set to open in Cape Town this summer. The new store, designed by renowned interior design studio ARRCC, will open at the Willowbridge Shopping Centre in Tyger Valley on the 1st of October 2017. Yuppiechef co-founder and managing director Andrew Smith says the brand aims to integrate smart technologies to make the experience between Yuppiechef.com and the physical store seamless.
Smith says that the store in Cape Town will be the first of a few Yuppiechef outlets that are planned over the next five years. “The Willowbridge shop signifies the next step in the Yuppiechef journey and is in response to a changing global dynamic in retail. Consumers increasingly expect cross-channel capability from brands, and while the assumption is that traditional stores should be moving online, so too is there pressure on online brands to have a physical presence,” says Smith.
Speaking on the store design, ARRCC Director Jon Case says that the brief was exciting yet challenging at the same time. “Yuppiechef asked us to take a brand that has flourished in a digital space for 11 years and bring it to life in the physical sense. Most brands undertake this process in the opposite direction, so the brief was relatively unique.”
Case says that the store has a warm feel with natural timbers and smoky undertones. “The materials are raw in nature and create a perfect balance between luxury and an industrial edge. The store was designed to be approachable yet allowing the products to stand out.” In keeping with the innovative nature of the store, ARRCC and Yuppiechef selected Caesarstone engineered quartz countertops.
The design also boasts a functional test kitchen as well as a ‘genius bar’ where consumers can connect with the online store and continue their shopping experience, select an address for delivery or update their Yuppiechef profiles. Customers can also set up a wedding registry in-store, subscribe to a monthly food, craft beer or wine subscription or have a gift beautifully wrapped with Yuppiechef style.
Smith says that the Yuppiechef team spent an inordinate amount of time considering how to design the consumer experience in the physical store so that there is a seamless transition from the digital outlet. “Curating the experience between our two channels was critically important in the planning process and our intention is that we will pioneer this thinking in South African retail with the launch of the new outlets.”
From modest beginnings in the front lounge of co-founder Andrew Smith’s Cape Town home with a product range of just 12 items and only 200 orders in the first year; Yuppiechef has grown to now offer more than 6000 kitchen and home products from over 400 local and international brands, shipping to five countries in Southern Africa. With six consecutive ‘best e-commerce store of the year’ awards, Yuppiechef is one of South Africa’s most successful e-commerce stories today.