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Passionate retail lovers open micro department store to create synergies between digital and physical spaces

And it’s including much more than your typical retailer.

31102019
Words: Johan Magnusson

Frida Roos and Petra Hodel have a long background in — and a huge passion for — retail. Last weekend, they opened Beyond Us in Malmö, Sweden.

— The reason why is that we’ve noticed how brands need a new solution to reach the synergies between digital and physical retail, the duo says. We’re a micro department store in central Malmö where brands can sign up for a package to expose and promote themselves together in a physical space. We work with short and flexible contracts, with everything included, to make it easier, more cost-efficient and less risky for brands to open up a pop-up store.

The initial brand list includes a bunch of exciting up-and-comers, including Manér, Blankdays, Grounded Factory, Svea, aim’n, Atom 47, Tropical Scandinavia, and Art n Deco. They (the brands) change every third month in order to constantly create new content for customers. And Beyond Us is so much more than a store.

— Some parts are permanent, including a café, meeting rooms, showroom for sales activities, workspaces, a training studio, a clothing rental service, package pickup and event spaces. We need to create many different reasons for people to visit us — and hopefully stay a bit longer.

How do you see the future of retail?

— We have a strong faith. Even though vast parts move online, we still need places to meet, hang out and get inspired. We’ll also need different alternatives to the traditional store and Beyond Us is one of them. In a physical space, our staff can offer another service level. Our ”project leaders”, as we call them, are our ambassadors, connecting the brands and the customers to identify needs and requests. It’s almost like ”offline cookies”. Research shows that brands that open a store increase their online traffic in the catchment area with, on average, 37%. The same numbers are lost if they close down a store. The synergies between IRL and online are strong, the duo says, adding,

— We also look for the opportunity to open more units in other cities, but for now, we’re thrilled to bring this to Malmö.

Beyond Us is located at Södra Vallgatan 5 in Malmö.