Harrods: Future of experience

Sarah Myler sheds light on how the role of physical retail is undergoing a transformation, with Harrods at the forefront of innovation

Harrods, the world’s leading luxury department store is home to over 3000 brands, shop designer fashion and accessories, luxury beauty, fine jewellery and watches, food, furniture and more – in-store and online.

Sarah Myler, the Director of International Business Development and Communications at Harrods speaks to Campaign Middle East reporter Sonia Majumder about recent marketing campaigns, the evolving landscape of experiential retail, its global mentorship programme and more.

The Harrods Hive talent incubator made its return to Dubai for its second year with the launch of a new global mentorship programme.

The brand shows its commitment to nurturing talent and fostering innovation in the luxury retail space.

The event focused on the theme of the ‘Future of Experience’, which connected the dots between key human touch points from cities and homes to retail, hospitality and travel to arts and culture in a place.

How does Harrods approach its marketing strategy to maintain its position as a global luxury brand?

It is an absolute requisite for any luxury brand to understand your customers deeply, and building the tools to understand our customers has been a key consideration within our marketing strategy.

We introduced SVC (single view customer) to help data driven decision making in all areas of the business.

We want to be able to build our customer profiles and understand behaviours and future needs, to be able to make strategic decisions at the right moment, through the most relevant channels, with the most engaging and valuable experiences.

These personalised experiences are particularly important with our international visitors, whether that’s through Spring Festival activations for our Chinese customer base or Ramadan and Eid activity for our Middle Eastern customers. 

Maintaining our position as a global luxury brand is supported by the calibre of brand partnerships and activations we are able to bring to our customers, such as the Prada Caffe, Dior Christmas and the Louis Vuitton façade takeover.

We are able to tailor our approach and strategy to ensure that we are continuing to offer the experiences and exceptional service that Harrods is renowned for. 


Tell us about recent innovative marketing campaigns or collaborations.

Harrods has a wide variety of campaigns and collaborations taking place this year. Most significantly, Harrods is celebrating its 175th anniversary and this has presented the perfect opportunity to celebrate the iconic brand.

The campaign encompasses the most famous elements of the Harrods brand, from the Harrods bears to the iconic façade, the exceptional service to exclusive commemorative collaborations, all culminating in a showstopping Christmas.

We kicked off the year by partnering with another iconic British brand, Burberry; we launched the Harrods Lounge, a dedicated concierge space in-store purposed to helping customers find out more about what’s happening across the store; and the released exclusive Harrods bears in partnership with brands such as Burberry, Valentino, Charlotte Tilbury, Bulgari, with more to come.

Throughout the 12-month-long celebration, we will unveil over 40 exclusive products, all developed in homage to the Harrods legacy.

Harrods has also undertaken a number of campaigns and collaborations in the Middle East, such as the partnership with Qatari artist Mbarak Al Thani, who created a unique piece of artwork in celebration of Ramadan and Eid.

The creations were featured throughout key Harrods imagery during the month of Ramadan and Eid and the artwork displayed in-store, on digital greetings and used for social content.

Most recently, while in Dubai for the latest edition of the Harrods Hive, we announced The Harrods Hive mentorship programme which will offer personalised mentorship opportunities to emerging talent, providing them with valuable industry insights and practical guidance to navigate and thrive in a competitive luxury retail landscape. 

What are some emerging trends or areas of focus for Harrods?

Experiential retail has become a big part of our offering at Harrods, and this is reflected in the brand takeovers and exclusive partnerships that we offer our customers.

It has also been integrated into our Harrods Hive series, with this year’s Dubai edition focusing on ‘Future of Experience’ as a theme, connecting the dots between key human touchpoints from cities and homes to retail, hospitality and travel to arts and culture in a place. 

What inspired the brand to bring back the Harrods Hive event to Dubai?

We are delighted to have hosted the Harrods Hive in Dubai for a second year running after the success of last year, and this time launching Harrods’ new global mentoring programme.

Dubai is a place that has continued to push the boundaries and has such wealth in terms of emerging creative talent and powerhouses to showcase the best of the Middle East.

This year, we held meaningful discussions with some of the regions most phenomenal experts, from curators of world class museums, award winning chefs to city planners, all of whom had an interesting and authoritative point of view.

It is amazing to be able to give these talents a platform and raise awareness of this topic that are so deserving of the global spotlight. 

Speakers at the Harrods Hive Dubai included Brendan McGetrick, Creative Director at Museum of The Future; Maggie Abdelbaset, Festivals and Retail Expert, Dubai Economy & Tourism; Neha Mishra, Chef and Founder at Kinoya; and Giuseppe Moscatello, Art Curator and Cultural Entrepreneur, The Foundry, and Darya Prodaevich, Managing Director, Theatre of Digital Art, amongst others.

How does Harrods see the role of physical retail evolving?

Luxury is in its nature something that lends itself to the physical experience. You cannot recreate the exceptional service, seeing the physical product and the moment of purchase online, it’s something special.

This is why Harrods continues to invest significantly in our Knightsbridge store to attract shoppers throughout the year.

Our brand strategy and investment in a variety of offerings allows customers to spend the entire day with us, enjoying dining offerings from Studio Frantzen to the Harrods Dining Hall, beauty and hair treatments, private shopping and much more.

The role of physical retail remains as important for Harrods as before and while we invest in evolving our digital platforms such as the recently relaunched app, the physical experience and exceptional service Harrods is renowned for will continue to be a constant in this changing landscape.