Hipanda’s Ghost House; elevating retail experiences through AR technology

Hipanda is single-handedly bringing streetwear fashion into new territories through its fresh - and quite spooky - approach to retail. Driven by a desire to redefine expectations of retail experiences, the Japanese flagship store seamlessly merges ‘emotion, passion, curiosity and beauty’ by leveraging augmented reality (AR) technology. Going beyond the traditional transactional experience, the space creates an enchanting futuristic retail experience by creatively coupling an impressive visual spectacle of installations with immersive storytelling. The countless surprising encounters not only masterfully reinforce the ‘mischievous’ brand image but also enhance the in-store experience, leaving a memorable mark in customers’ mind.


Hipanda’s virtual journey starts from outside the store; using their own smart devices, visitors can immediately immerse themselves in a mysterious journey of discovery and surprise.


Streetwear brand, Hipanda, has launched its first retail store in Japan. The ‘haunted house’ concept envisioned by the world-renowned design firm Curiosity in partnership with visual design studio WOW was inspired by the brand’s ‘irritated’ panda character. In an effort to redefine expectations of retail experiences in a highly digitised world, the duo created a spooky experience by combining architectural features and art installations with AR technology. At its core, the project was driven by the desire to reflect how technology can elevate a retail experience and offer countless ways individuals can experience the same retail space. 



The digital visual of the ‘irritated’ panda – reflective of the Chinese youth’s rebellious spirit – welcomes visitors to the store.




Going beyond the transactional act of selling a product, the Hipanda store tells a story where the customer is the lead character. The virtual experience starts before visitors enter the store through a QR code placed by the door. When scanned it downloads the Hipanda Now app, which brings the giant panda logo on the storefront to life and bursts it in a shower of monochromatic confetti. Once inside, the app guides individuals into their personal futuristic journey; each space revealing the ‘host’ of the house in various interactive installations around different areas of the store. In an age where buying a product can be done online at the command of our fingertips, Hipanda’s fresh approach successfully achieves its mission of redefining the retail space and bringing back its allure.



Hipanda’s striking monochromatic retail space features digitally inspired mannequins and countless mirrors; further blurring the lines between virtual elements and reality.


Hipanda’s Japanese flagship store interior offers a sense of discovery by bringing together four very distinct worlds in a complementary manner; that of fashion, art, technology and architecture. Whilst the main room features a dynamic play of light in constant motion, every other space in the store provides a shadow-free interior parallelling a digital environment; cleverly fusing two contrasting worlds and bringing to life an immersive retail experience. Truly a work of art, the store challenges those who visit to question what is virtual versus what is real, whilst also illustrating the limitless potential of AR as a branded tool for storytelling. The enchanting hands-on retail experience taps into all senses, allowing for the creation of memorable in-store moments, whilst also streamlining the experience by incorporating interactive displays that take away the need for a sales team.



The streetwear displayed in the store is not overshadowed by the animations as the continually-changing displays are programmed to bring visitors closer to the showroom.


The look and feel of the store reflect the street vibe of the Chinese brand; a cool factor that is particular to Hipanda and cannot be replicated online or by any other competing brand. Even though avant-garde as an approach, Hipanda ensures all retail elements carry its distinct personality. This way, whoever enters the store is immediately connected to what the brand stands for and is entranced by the virtual characters that clearly reflect the brand’s rebellious spirit.



The Hipanda app allows visitors to navigate the ‘ghost house’ and discover mischievous characters that are hiding in the store; offering an unforgettable personalised experience to each individual.




If you need help making customer experience central to your retail strategy, we’d like to offer you a complimentary strategy call with our Managing Director and Head of Strategy, Grant Davidson. Having nearly 30 years of industry experience working with groundbreaking brands, Grant has the experience and knowledge necessary to identify your core brand strategy and communicate it effectively.


Written by Davidson Branding
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