Many customers find it very pleasant when they see an area with a carefully selected product range where they can discover new products! Like online stores, which already make a pre-selection, department stores take up this idea and expand these specific areas enormously, says Anita Stampfl, Special Projects Managerin at HBB Centermanagement in this Q&A on Curated Spaces.
Are these curated areas becoming more important? Are they good opportunities for larger stores, department stores, vacancies at central locations, shopping streets, and shopping centers? What are the advantages? Are there any disadvantages as well?

Anita Stampfl: There are already some of these concepts out there that work well. The primary task of stationary retail is to offer the customer a suitable pre-selection instead of the overabundance of products in the thicket of the Internet. This will become increasingly important in the future and must be expanded. Customers want to see something new every day and be surprised. This is where target group-specific concept stores come in – which also tend to pay reasonable leases.

Are there any of the previously mentioned areas that are particularly well suited for this concept? Is there an area that is too small or too large, even if implemented well and appealingly?

Stampfl: I see department stores that have become unfashionable as having great potential here – since they usually have more extensive areas, and you can bring in everything from exhibitions to stationary fashion shows and immersive entertainment.

Of course, smaller spaces can also play well and work to a certain extent, but the concept has to be interesting to impact and attract visitors. A good example is the HBB Pop-Up Stores initiative. These are turnkey stores that tenants can move into immediately with ever-changing themes and trends. In the UK, there are plenty of curated spaces – these are mainly offered through organizations like “Save the High Street.”

In smaller spaces, I find “showrooms” work very well, especially for start-ups that have only been available online – they display their products in the stationary realm, advise customers on the spot where they can buy, and have it delivered to their homes. Or you could combine art and stationary retail. There are already some good examples of both approaches throughout Europe. In general, it’s all about customer experience and innovation.

There are vacancies in city center locations, shopping centers, and shopping streets. What could an attractive concept look like for these locations and what needs to be done to lease them successfully?  Could it be a curated space, or would a pop-up store be a better fit? What does it take to keep customers from buying online?

Stampfl: A combination of both could be very successful. Pop-up stores are trendy and successful if they are for brands or industries that also have a solid social media presence. We should think less about big brand names in this regard and more about influencers. A perfect example here is the Laced-Up Sneaker Store at FORUM Schwanthalerhöhe.  These stores also have their collections or skincare lines etc… With a model such as the I Like pop-up store; you attract audiences to shopping places with social media and influencers.  Customers experience social media stars or their products up close, bringing online formats closer to brick-and-mortar retail.

In our fast-paced society, offering customers something new constantly is essential. Exciting concepts, initiatives, or events get people off their sofas and into the centers.

It’s about much more than just filling vacancies – it’s about offering additional exciting attractions.

HBB, in particular, has some good examples – the store for traditional costumes at FORUM Schwanthalerhöhe or the Tatkraft pop-up at Forum Hanau, where young people and adults could try their hand at various trades. We also had an interactive car showroom with Polestar at Petersbogen in Leipzig.

Another big topic that is also very close to our hearts is social pop-ups – like the blood donation service at FORUM Schwanthalerhöhe or the social pop-up together with wirhelfen.eu, or the KRONENKREUZ pop-up store with NEUE ARBEIT of Diaconia Essen at Rathaus Galerie Essen where designer items were displayed and sold.