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Customer experience: is Soho House Berlin the future of concept stores?

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Soho House is known as a group of private members’ clubs around the world. Of English origins the concept has spread into continental Europe too. Berlin has its Soho Club too and the non-private parts are worth a visit, especially the concept store on the ground floor which is in our opinion a model of what the future of retail will look like.
Before we report on our visit there, let’s have a brief introduction on the Soho House concept.

The Soho House concept

First of all Soho House is not new. It started in 1995 in London as a private club for creative brains. People can have meetings in the club, a drink or enjoy the view from the roofterraces at top-notch locations.
Its success is certainly partly due to its “mysterious admissions policies — in which a nebulous ideal of “creativity” is valued above net worth and job titles — and studied resistance to ostentation”. The Hollywood Reporter reports for instance that “Kim Kardashian has unsuccess­fully tried [to apply] numerous times” to the Soho Hous ein Los Angeles.
Nowadays Soho House is also a hotel brand and, like in in the Berlin location, a trendy shopping destination.

The Soho House concept store in Berlin

The Berlin Soho House is located at Torstrasse 1, in a very trendy area of Berlin-Mitte. When you enter the lobby you’ll find a restaurant on your left, the hotel concierge in front of you and the concept store on your right. Let’s get in.
Like in other concept stores (Merci Merci in Paris for instance) you’ll find a bar where you can sip a coffee, enjoy an organic home-made pastry or a fresh-pressed smoothie. Trendy souls need their dose of trendy food and drinks, don’t they?
What differenciates the Soho House concept store is for instance the DJ set in front of the store windows (surrounded by old vinyls for sale, which is also an uprising trend according to our market research) and the, most importantly, by the working zones scattered around the place. The Soho House concept store can become your homebase for work. You’ll find everything you need : food and drinks of course, but above all inspiration for your creation. People drawn to this place are certainly special and navigate between objects that have been carefuly curated.

Customer experience analysis: a collection of curated spaces

This is the essence of a concept store: you must create sense through arranging products from different categories. At the Soho House concept store this is done through well-curated micro-spaces that are like different little scenes and instill different atmospheres. You’ll find a library, a intimate space for two, a children’s playground, a living room. It’s all in there, except the bedroom.
If you decide to seat down you become a part of the scene itself, an actor of your own self-projection.
Besides this somewhat more philosphical analysis, what is really instrumental in a store like this is the quality of the items. Without a doubt the curation has been very well done: the items for sale have been carefuly selected (including vintage ones). Shopping here will certainly ensure that you’ll be quite unique.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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