Concept stores are building momentum in terms of their popularity. Offering new and exciting ways to shop, these kinds of premises are truly original in design. A clothing brand with a concept store can sell their goods alongside coffee shops, communal sitting areas, and even replace their stairways with slides – there’re no rules to a concept store.
Unfortunately, retailers shut 2,692 of their stores in the first half of 2018, as the high street takes hit after hit. However, with the growing emergence of concept stores, this could be just what brick and mortar businesses need to evolve with the times and stay relevant in their respective marketplace! Soon, there’ll be a push for all retailers to open their own concept stores worldwide.
Leading the charge is popular fashion brand Belstaff, which has now opened its second concept store of 2019, this time planting roots in Residenzstrasse, Munich. This follows the opening of their East London concept store in Spitalfields earlier this year, as the popular fashion brand effortlessly moves from strength to strength. Never one to shy away from being inventive and original with what it offers, Belstaff is on the precipice of something undoubtedly huge.
The expansion is a promising indicator for the viability of concept stores; there’s a clear demand here and great room for further innovations too. Its Spitalfields store, for example, focuses greatly on providing not only a good shop as expected, but an ‘immersive’ and ‘tactile’ experience, in their own words. It serves tea, coffee and even gin and tonics in its windowed area and has fought for a vintage and antique feel; from the age-old furniture to the exposed brick work and metal beams. It’s impossible to not be taken away by it all.
Aesthetics might not seem important when reading about them on a blog, but in actuality, they’re a big part of what makes brick and mortar shopping so intriguing. There’s an atmosphere and a mood, and they’re only accentuated further by the idea of concept stores. There’s a theme and a real warmth – neither of which can be felt when clicking buttons online. In the case of the Spitalfields store, Belstaff sourced everything locally in order to better celebrate its Stoke-on-Trent origins, grounding the store in a truly distinct and unique identity.
Its Residenzstrasse counterpart, however, has shown the same exemplary level of inspiration. Fittingly situated beside the English gardens and opera house, Belstaff is now again associated with Englishness and vibrant culture when far away from home. A café once again features, but this time a spiralling staircase leads to it, offering magnificent views of the sprawling city scape below and fabulously crafted mural behind the counter. Wines and beers are also served up there, taking the edge off customers and giving them not just a shop, but a welcoming hospitality area too. Trophies are displayed that harken back to Belstaff’s glorious biking origins, and there’s a casual layout amidst all the antique rugs too. It’s completely atmospheric.
Ultimately, Belstaff’s concept stores are truly unrivalled in their level of service and presentation. From gripping aesthetics to next level hospitality provisions, shoppers gain so much more than a product when visiting Belstaff – they gain an experience.
A Retail Times’ collaborative article