Adidas opened its brand new store on 1,400m2 in Berlin Mitte, 2nd December. ‘It’s more than shopping”, said Hannah Mercer from global retail activation. Below you can read the iterview with Hannah Mercer, Adidas’ head of merchandising.
The three-storey Adidas flagship store in Berlin, is in many ways a state of the art store concept. Digitalisation, sustainability and locality play major roles here. How does the sports giant put them into practice? Hannah Mercer is vice president retail activation & marketing. She says, “This store has the most interactive Adidas merchandising we have ever created.” “Covid taught us to be more focused on Berlin’s regionality and its people. This is the most important aspect the new Berlin concept.”
Sustainable store design and sustainability as an idea
The new store is immediately obvious to anyone who enters it – both plants and natural materials. The store is filled with natural stone and wood. Mercer says that plant displays are strategically placed in strategic locations in the store in order to connect with nature and “to clean the atmosphere.” Reuse is also an important part of the business. We always consider the life cycle of materials, and what can be done with them.
Adidas offers customers sustainable services and is keen to increase awareness about the issue. The Berlin flagship store has the first Adidas sneaker cleaning service in Germany. It also offers a Green Lab for upcycling activities and a Green Ambassador program. There is also an Experience Room that focuses attention on Berlin in a variety ways, including local sustainability events. Mercer believes that physical retail is a great way to build relationships with customers, particularly through our membership program.
Many digital technologies – but not the gimmicks
The retail expert explained that there are 72 digital touchpoints within the new store. “Ten of them are interactive.” The self-developed digital shoe wall measures six metres wide and focuses on running. The wall displays information about the shoe as soon as the customer removes it from the wall. An RFID chip embedded in the shoe makes this possible.
Interactive service “Bring it To Me” is now available. Customers can use their smartphone camera to scan any shoe in the store and then order the size they want to try on. The staff will deliver the shoe to the customer right there, so there’s no waiting at the shelves.
You can also find trial room innovations. You can change the background and have the mirrors show information about the products being tested using RFID technology. Mercer doesn’t want this to be interpreted as digital gimmicks. “Everything works intuitively, and has a real advantage for the consumer,” says she. “The mirror in the trial room also shows items that match the product. It’s all about creating memorable experiences.”
Hyperlocality is not due to Covid alone
Local focus does not mean Berlin is the only location that plays a part in the store’s concept. It can also include incorporating works by local artists. It seems natural for stationary stores to concentrate on local customers in these times of reduced travel due to the pandemic. “Adidas wants to do the same, but it is strategic. Adidas has over one million members in Berlin. They believe that the store should be a place where people can meet regularly, and the community should grow along with it.”
Mercer says that every new Adidas store is unique and results from its environment. “We have learned that every new Adidas store is different and is a result of its environment,” says Mercer. “The flagship store, for instance, focuses heavily on women but also includes a section for children. The basement houses the Originals lifestyle floor as well as a premium section with the Y-3 brand. On the first floor, you will find running and football products. There is also a new Green Lab where daily sustainable activations are held. We have chosen to focus on sports because this will allow our brand to stand apart from the rest in Berlin.”
Future retail projects
Adidas is currently planning a series of retail projects, including the Berlin flagship store. The first Adidas Terrex Mountain Loft flagship store opened in Munich a few days ago. Also, the first Adidas Concept Store was opened in Hamburg. In Moscow, a new flagship store will open in December. The flagship stores at Fifth Avenue and Champs Elysees in Paris will also be renovated. Mercer has not yet revealed the new ideas Adidas plans to implement at these prestigious locations.