How can modern commerce be made attractive to customers using digital technologies? Retailers can now find answers in the Retail Garage. This joint project of the Mittelstand-Digital-Zentrum Handel, the Handelsverband Deutschland and the EHI Retail Institute offers a new meeting place for retailers in a central location at Potsdamer Platz. The Retail Garage makes digitization tangible: the new showroom in Berlin is now all about professional and practical exchange on the topic of digital retail solutions. The Retail Garage is aimed at retailers and manufacturers as well as service providers and multipliers, to impart knowledge and inform about innovations in the industry. For the retail design team at dan pearlman, the conception of the Retail Garage was a home game. Under the leadership of spatial designer Robin Le Bail, a flexible, modular concept was developed, which provides for an interplay of open areas and clearly defined spaces for multifunctional use.
The Retail Garage, opened in April 2023, is located in the shopping center The Playce, directly at Potsdamer Platz. It is a joint project of the Handelsverband Deutschland e.V. (HDE), EHI Retail Institute and the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Handel, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. The three partners combine their many years of industry expertise to provide SME retailers with a point of contact that supports them in digitalization and provides orientation.
Practical examples of forward-looking technologies are at the heart of the showroom: a selection of exhibits dealing with connected commerce, artificial intelligence, or store design provide insights into various areas of digitized commerce. Visitors can experience live how the applications are used in retail and learn about the benefits for small and medium-sized retail companies. In addition to knowledge transfer through guided tours, events, and workshops, the showroom can also be rented for own events.
It is not just about illustrating what is currently feasible. The future of commerce is also addressed, to give an outlook on the metaverse and co. and to show which topics are already worth taking a closer look at, such as RFID software solutions for transparent supply chains, automatic age recognition at self-checkout, innovative store design that influences consumer purchasing behavior. These and other digital innovations are now available to discover and try out in the Retail Garage.
Whether it’s a workshop or event, small teams or large groups, for 30 or up to 100 people – the Retail Garage always has to be able to react to different requirements and be adaptable for many uses. That’s why the furniture and presentation surfaces used have a mobile character and can be easily moved and used multifunctionally. That the Retail Garage is a space for change and creative thinking is also visible through the wall design. Whether with graffiti or sketch-like design thinking notes on the focus wall – the character of a “work in progress” seems to shine through all design elements. The color concept for the Retail Garage is closely based on the CI of the three important partners, HDE, EHI, and the Mittelstand-Digital Zentrum Handel, and oscillates between blue, yellow, red, and turquoise.
“With the help of our experts on site, retailers can get a better picture of digital solutions and better assess what is worthwhile for their business,” explains Stephan Tromp, deputy managing director of the Handelsverband Deutschland. “Our aim with the Retail Garage is to offer this opportunity in particular to smaller retailers.”
“On the German market, there has been no such offer for retailers so far,” summarizes Marco Atzberger, managing director of the EHI. “Visitors can learn how new technologies work and what the future of commerce brings, as well as exchange ideas with other professionals and experts.”
The Retail Garage is an exciting format that brings together the expertise of all partners in one place. Visits are possible at any time free of charge with prior registration. All information is available at retailgarage.de