Are Europe's Hyper-Specialist Retail Stores the way Forward?
Europe is taking retail to the next level with hyper specialist retail stores. This trend is predominantly in Berlin but it’s spilling out all over Europe. In Berlin you can find an abundance of retail stores that only stock one thing. There’s a shop solely dedicated to buttons, another that only retails ants (yes you read that correctly), and another that concentrates on selling textiles in the shape of meat.
The high number of hyper-specialist stores in Germany’s capital is down to historical chance. During the Cold War, East Germany nationalised every business with more than 10 employees, so the only way small private retailers could compete was by specialising in goods that the department stores didn’t sell.
It’s not only Berlin that houses retail stores that have a concentrated niche. If you’re wandering around Barcelona, you might come across a retail store that only stocks coat hangers and Madrid is home to Europe’s only cape shop.
Are these hyper specialist stores the future of retail? Who better to buy individual products from than a store that lives and breathes the item? With the rise of impatient buyers, super specialised stores will take the daunting task of sifting through hundreds of items online and in store away from the consumer.
Another reason these hyper specialist retail stores are doing so well is because they appeal to collectors and experts in their respective areas from all over the world. They stock products that you wouldn’t find in just any department store, so collectors don’t mind travelling further to buy it.
These stores offer more than just the usual customer retailer interaction, they offer a unique experience. They’re unlike stores you’d find just anywhere, so they appeal to consumers looking for something fresh and exciting. While we aren’t sure this is the future of retail yet, we do think it’s a space to watch.