With _blaenk, Svenja, Sandra, Moritz, and Martin have created a completely new sales concept: "We believe that shopping is about the overall experience – and in our opinion, that has been forgotten a bit in recent years."
The lifestyle experience store has recently been awarded 'Store of the Year 2021' and is located in the heart of Cologne's city centre in Germany. Here, the team offers innovative lifestyle products from a wide range of brands since the store's opening in November 2020. But _blaenk is much more than just a store - the focus here is on the experience. Visitors should discover and test the products with all their senses. Checkout can take place immediately at the POS or later digitally via blaenk.com. Together with MultiSafepay, the payment process is realized both in-store and online.
Currently, 40 different brands and manufacturers can present their products on the 450 square meter sales floor. The assortment covers a wide range of categories focussing on the well-being of the visitors - from beauty over sports to technology. The degree of innovation and trend characteristics displayed are decisive criteria for selecting brands and products in the _blaenk store. "We work with larger companies and small start-ups, local and international. This way, we can create a very nice dynamic and a very coherent overall picture. It's essential to us that we always have our finger on the pulse of time with the products and brands we offer," explains Svenja, CEO of the company. The goal with _blaenk is to constantly offer new inspiration and create personalized experiences. "However, merely having good products is no longer enough today. For us, the future of the physical space is to offer people an experience, the opportunity to discover products with all their senses. But that isn't easy only via the internet. With _blaenk, we create a kind of experience space: visitors can go from product to product and from brand to brand and call up product information digitally via QR codes. They can either use the self-checkout or pay at the checkout. They can take the products home, have them delivered or order them directly from our online shops.
'Retail-as-a-Service' – a concept for success
Before _blaenk, the team made a name for itself with Brickspaces, an online platform for brokering space for pop-up stores. During this process, they realized that simply brokering space is too short-sighted and that brands want much more than that – and they saw the opportunity to create something new. With their full-service concept (often known as 'retail-as-a-service'), they offer brands and manufacturers an all-around package - the opportunity to present their products in a perfectly curated environment. "Brands and manufacturers need only deliver their products and _blaenk takes care of the rest - from the staging in the store, the sale and dispatch of the products, to marketing and sensor- and camera-based performance analysis. Finally, _blaenk is also carrying out qualitative customer surveys, which provides manufacturers with even more consumer insights.
_blaenk and MultiSafepay - finding innovative solutions together
Their biggest challenge so far? "Probably that we opened a shop in the middle of the pandemic," says Martin, CEO of _blaenk. "People told us that it was brave or even crazy. But that's what sets us apart - that we just do it. We opened _blaenk within less than four weeks, including renovation, recruiting staff, and launching our online shop. Of course, it is extremely helpful to have someone with experience on our side. We were in discussion with several payment service providers. In the end, however, we were convinced that MultiSafepay had the best solution for us. We work very quickly and agilely, and that's why we need partners at our side who are the same."
With the support of MultiSafepay, we were able to get our online shop up and running in no time.
The Future - Omnichannel & Contactless Payments
What's next? For the team, it is clear that they will continue to look for innovative solutions to develop further with _blaenk. "Our priority is to develop further in the areas of customer journey and consumer insights. There are so many different checkout options and data tracking mechanisms. We are very excited to play a part in shaping the future of the physical retail space and providing customers with the best possible overall shopping experience. Of course, it helps a lot to have partners on our side to help us along the way."
The power of partnership
At Multisafepay, we value our merchants and partners. We believe that by working together with payment partners like _blaenk and inspiring each other, we can achieve much more. This way, we always manage to find the right solution for our customers, perfectly adapted to their individual needs.
Curious about what a MultiSafepay partnership can offer you?
Contact our experts