business design Fashion

Retail at home: Online shopping & apartment stores

Retail has been deeply impacted by the digital transformation of companies. Ecommerce has changed the way consumers shop, and the world of retail will never be the same. With a growing demand from customers to comfortably shop from their own homes, some brands have taken a fresh look at this pattern and have suggested an attractive alternative: the apartment stores. In this post, we’ll look at this new trend and see some examples of apartment stores that are keeping it up in the times of online shopping.

Online retail is almost 10% of the total retail spending in the world. Amazon is the most valuable company in the world with a worth over $300 billion. The importance of online transactions is undeniable, but even Amazon is looking into physical shops. Technology is changing retail all across the value chain but, with online shopping, the touchpoint with the customer, and the opportunity to add value to goods through a unique shopping experience change dramatically.

When customers shop online, brands lose their opportunity to create memories and add value through the shopping experience. There are no lights, no smells, and no smiles from store agents. Customers answer their own questions online, so brands can’t use the opportunity to up-sell. Overall, brands lose ownership of their shopping experience in favor of the undeniable benefits they get from e-commerce.

Apartment stores are one of the answers of brands to this problem. They have twisted the trend of shopping from home and moved their point of sale into the home. Retailers that sell fashion, deco or lifestyle goods bring their products into their natural spaces to give customers context. The name is self-explanatory: Apartment stores are stores placed inside apartments. They are a unique proposal for shoppers, as they get to see objects in context.

What are some apartment stores worth checking?

Bless is based in Berlin and has a shop in Paris too. The apartment is only open on Fridays and Weekends and by appointment. Their website says “Please ring “BLESS” doorbell to enter and walk through the courtyard to the backhouse.” and has no pictures of the place. They have an online shop too, where you can see some of the clothes, shoes, and decorative objects they sell, some worth 4-digit dollar amounts.

Aptm, also in Berlin, claims “anything you can pick up, you can purchase it” on their website, also asks for appointments to be booked, and features a beautiful decor with wood and lots of plants.

Graanmarkt 13, in Antwerp, is a restaurant is a home is a shop and claims they offer “online shopping for offline pleasure”, which I think is worth highlighting as a takeaway of this post. I think their value proposition is unique and a brave move in the times of ecommerce.

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Alex Eagle has brought the concept of apartment stores to the limit. Her London apartment, where she and her family live, is the location where she sells the clothes, accessories, deco, books, and arts she buys around the world. Her larger retail location features a coworking space, encouraging visitors to stay and hang out around things. She takes personal personal, and even offers a bespoke tailoring service to her clients. Be sure to check her beautiful home and fashion collections.

It’s interesting for someone who works mostly in a digital world and in B2B to learn more about things so linked to physical goods and locations, and where purchases are so related to a sensorial experience. Personally, I have always been attracted to fashion and deco and I am a person who needs to touch things before I can buy them, so the idea of apartment stores is very attractive to me. It will be interesting to see if they become a thing or whether they are completely smashed by online sales.

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