gia Global Honoree—Westwing Brasil—initially made its name and garnered its millions of followers online. Today however, its physical stores are proving to be just as popular, and as wonderfully creative, as its online campaigns and editorially led content.
by Michelle Hespe
Westwing Brasil was launched in December 2011 as a subsidiary of the German Westwing Group. The original concept of the brand—a highly curated collection of products that is editorially led and showcased as they would be in a homewares and lifestyle magazine—has remained.
During the first years of operation, Westwing Brasil (which since 2018 has been separate from the Westwing Group, an independent Brazilian brand) was entirely dedicated to online retail through the Westwing Club; but in November 2014 its first physical store was opened in São Paulo and was incredibly well received by loyal supporters. By the end of 2022, Westwing Brasil is on track to have 10 stores spread across the country.
While the pandemic was disastrous for many companies, large and small, Westwing Brasil doubled its turnover and staff, and now has more than 800 employees. Founder & CEO Andres Mutschler describes the business as a “living organism that renews itself every day.” And, he adds: “It takes a lot of people to offer the best possible experience to our customers.”
Andres says that the company’s purpose is to bring content, trends and the Westwing lifestyle to life. “So, it’s not just about homewares, but also about art, fashion, music, culture, décor and so much more.”
As anyone in the industry is aware, most retailers have worked in the opposite way—by first establishing a physical store and then aiming to bring the experience of shopping alive online. However, Andres’ team continually strives to give loyal readers and followers the same experience in stores as they have when looking at Westwing Brasil content online.
The gia jury was impressed by this, commenting that “Westwing Brasil has a holistic approach to online and offline offerings, giving customers the best of both worlds with the ability to navigate seamlessly between online and a bricks-and-mortar experience.”
Andres could not agree more. “Our social media, magazines and website complement one another, and it’s all about creativity and good content in order for us to live in the most beautiful world we can imagine,” he says.
Creativity, immersion and innovation are at the core of what Westwing Brasil does. Last year for instance, they created and used a video by the singer Vanessa da Mata (a Latin Grammy Award-winning Brazilian MPB singer, songwriter and novelist) as a form of e-commerce.
The film was 90 scenes in length, and it was directed by Brazilian film director Fred Ouro Preto from the production company Café Royal. “The campaign was developed with the help of Google tools with TrueView for Shopping and Facebook—with Facebook Collection,” says Andres. “We then included more than 400 objects in the video that were for sale, with a simple path through to clip-commerce.”
The clip was the highlight of the brand’s campaign, which had the tagline: “Westwing. Live a more beautiful world.”
This all combined to create a completely immersive shopping experience. In addition to digital media, the campaign was extended to TV (with a 30-second version of the video), digital media, Out of Home media and the channels of the many brands included in the clip. This of course led to users sharing their experience, and earned media.
It’s this type of innovative marketing that impressed the gia jury and puts Westwing Brasil into a league of its own. The sheer volume of content creation is mind-blowing, with Westwing Brasil running over 2,500 PR campaigns per year, across all sorts of fields and topics such as innovative cooking classes, flower arrangement classes and fashion and homewares-focused events.
In its physical stores, Westwing Brasil offers impeccably curated, in-stock products arranged in rooms that are constantly updated. As in a real home, everyone is welcome and invited to explore the spaces as if they were in one of the Westwing Brasil website campaigns.
Customers can take a closer look and check the quality of the materials, the texture of an exclusive fabric or the sophistication of a crystal drinkware set. A professional is always on hand to offer customized tips and ideas for customers looking to create a Westwing-styled space and atmosphere.
In the São Paulo store, outdoor spaces become extensions of the indoors, offering customers even more options for comfortably relaxing and entertaining. Porch sofas, cushions and throws become an important part of this category because the colors, textures and merchandising are used to layer the stories and inspire the customer to think of new ways that they can use products to express themselves while creating a beautiful environment.
“The store is visually inspiring with striking, dynamic color stories, beautiful visual merchandising and elevated platforms for special collections of furnishings that give them a gallery-like appeal,” the gia jury noted. “The store utilizes mood-boosting design extremely well.”
Being a part of the IHA Global Innovation Awards led Andres and his team to look at every element of the business in fine detail.
“We learned that every little piece of the store—online and in a physical sense—has the ability to communicate something,” Andres says. “And when we were evaluating our entry in the awards, we realized even more how important it is to dedicate energy to every single detail of the business.”
The gia award has its place of pride in the office back in Brazil, and it has given the team even more desire and momentum to keep taking Westwing Brasil to new levels. However, the goal of the business will always remain the same—and that is keeping their customers happy.
“To me, success is based upon being valued by our customers, and for us to be the brand of their heart,” Andres says. “The entire company looks at every part of the journey to get there, and to always deliver the best we have in us.”
Sponsored and organized by The Inspired Home Show and the International Housewares Association (IHA), gia (IHA Global Innovation Awards) is the world’s leading awards program honoring overall excellence, business innovation and creative merchandising in homegoods retailing. For more information about the gia retail program, the co-sponsors or participating in gia, contact Piritta Törrö at email@example.com. Additional information on gia is also available online at TheInspiredHomeShow.com/Awards/gia-Retailing.
For more information about The Inspired Home Show and to pre-register for the 2023 Show, taking place in Chicago on 4-7 March 2023, please visit TheInspiredHomeShow.com.