Data Collection: Concept Stores – what is the idea behind?

This data collection deals with the overall topic of concept stores. The research question which will be answered with the data collection is the following: What is the idea behind concept stores?

Strolling through the city of Amsterdam I recognized that there are more and more stores which offer several brand, products and sometimes also host a little cafe or restaurant within the store. In the worlds mouth these stores are called concept stores.
Especially in Amsterdam people are talking about „concept stores“ – but was exactly is a concept store and what is the idea behind?

The following will give you an insight on how I did the research and shows the data collection process. Further it presents conclusions & key findings for each method I used.

For my research I have chosen to do exploratory research to gain insights and comprehension on the topic concept stores and used a qualitative approach to dive into the topic.

I made use of four different methods:

  • Desk research
  • Depth interviews with store owners/employees of concept stores
  • Interviews via social messenger with potential consumers using a projective interview technique
  • Observation of products/setting/atmosphere in concept stores

The data was collected spread over the days from 09.02.2017 – 18.02.2017.


Definitions of the term „concept“ and „concept stores“

Interesting articles, news, blog articles about and related to concept stores

Examples of concept stores around the world and especially in Amsterdam

Process & Conclusion:

I started of with the desk research when I decided I wanted to do my data collection about concept stores. As I think this is a quite solid and good method to start a data collection I have chosen the desk research to start with to get an overview about the topic I want to dive in deeper.

To get a first glance of what in terms of general information about concept store is already out there and especially on the internet I used different search engines, such as google, bing and yahoo, to gather information.

By searching key words such as „concept store“, „definition of concept stores“, „new shopping experience“, „offline shopping of tomorrow“ I found blog articles, scientific researches done on this topic or related topics and a lot of examples of concept stores.

To collect and sort the data, which I researched I decided to use Pinterest as a tool to collect the data. Therefore I created three different pin walls where I sorted the data. To make the research reliable I think Pinterest is a good tool because with the websites or articles you pin, you also safe the source.  So anyone who is interested can easily get access to the research which makes it transparent and thus repeatable.

The desk research helped me to figure out what other methods I should use to dive into the topic more deeply. As a result I decided to interview store owners/ employees at concept store but also random possible consumers about their opinion, motivation and feeling of concept stores.

Further I figured out my research question while doing the desk research as I one of the key findings of the desk research was that there is a lot more behind the word „concept store“ than just a simple definition.

Key findings:

  • there is no exact and scientific definition of concept stores
  • there are a lot of concept stores all over the world, but mostly in economical booming cities people in the media are talking about concept stores.
  • „concept stores“ are not a new phenomenon, but the idea behind isn’t fully defined yet
  • a unique, personal or extraordinary concept on how shops attract are becoming more and more important for offline retail
  • research question came up: what concept do concept stores follow? What idea is behind concept stores?

INTERVIEWS (semi-structured) with employees/ owners of concept stores in Amsterdam

Main question being asked to make the method more reliable. But the interviews are depth interviews I left space for a dialogue around the topic.

  • What is your definition of a concept store?
  • What is the idea behind this concept store/ what is your concept?
  • What do you think does the future of concept stores look like? What will become more important in terms of offline shopping?

To increase the research validity I did the interviews with the store owners/ employees over a longer period (one week) to avoid situation and daytime bias and thus make the results more generalizable.

Cotton Cake – Concept Store, Amsterdam de Pijp
offers: clothing for woman, underwear,  jewelry, shoes, bags, books + coffee + cake

„We started as a concept store because we wanted to create a lifestyle brand and create a place where you feel what the brand cotton cake is and where you can have a drink, spend a lot of time and be happy.“

„The idea behind the store is making it pretty personal, we basically just wanted to share the things we like and that we for example found along our travels – our favorite foods, our favorite everything and combine all these things in a store.“

„What we sell is the things we really really like and not the commercial pieces.“

„I think as you can now also shop online, to be a good and successful store you need to have a lot of service and create a lifestyle brand because otherwise you can just buy stuff online.“

„I think adding some love to the products and to the place and giving an extra something to the shopping experience is the future of store and what people really want.“

Kolifleur – Concept Store, Amsterdam de Pijp
offers: second hand clothing for woman, plants, books, accessories, bags, shoes

„A concept store is a store that combines all things – we do sell clothing but also prints, ceramics and plants and that is the thing with a concept store: you can combine things that you like together.“

All The Luck in the World – Concept Store, Amsterdam East
offers: accessoires, bags, books, cards, interior, jewelry + coffee + cake

„Our concept is a mix of new and vintage products and here in east we also have a coffee corner within the store.“

„We have a lot of different brands and also our own jewelry brand but we also support local brands.“


Concrete Matter – Concept Store „Gifts for men“, Amsterdam Haarlemmerdijk
offers: gifts for men, beauty products, music, books, accessories, knifes, cards, interior, bikes

„To define what a concept store is really hard, but I think it is a store is a store which selects products from a couple of  brands and make them its own.“

„Our concept is to sell products with a story.“

„I think stores like this become more important in the future because we are living pretty much in a fast lane, so you get to decide weather you buy fast fashion or „slow design“, as we call it, which means products with more quality.“

Hartje Oost – Concept Store, Amsterdam Oost

„We are not really a concept store, but in a way we are because we have food, coffee and the clothing and other products – so it is a combination of what we like and love.“

„We are everything together to enjoy the coffee but also enjoy the cloths – for us it is a combination of beautiful products and nice things to drink or to eat.“

„In the future I think more stores will become like this one, because you have the online shops, so you have to do something to get people to your shop. I think it is important for the stores to do something unique and personal and add a special value to the shopping experience that people can love it and then come back to your shop.“

Six and Sons – Concept Stores, Amsterdam Haarlemmerdijk

„The way we do it here is really personal in terms of buying and selling products to our customers. The products we sell is what we like and love and that is what the people like.“

„We do not have a real concept – we sell what we like.“

ABOUT. Lifestyle for men – Concept Stores, Amsterdam Haarlemmerdijk

„In my opinion people (men and women) don’t have that much time so a concept store is a place where they can find all products they need. Here a man can shop and will find his perfume, clothing, shoes, their socks and drink a cup of coffee and see the art on the walls – so everything at one place.“

„People come here because they get to much information from the internet etc. and so they just want to have one location with one information point.“

Key findings:

  • most of the store owners told me they wanted to sell and show products to their customers they like and love themselves
    –> adding a personal value to the shopping experience
  • while defining a concept stores, the store owners/ employees referred to a concept that is more than just a conventional concept of selling products. They want to present and create a lifestyle brand or a unique atmosphere
  • added value through hand selecting products and selling products with a story
  • through not only selling products but also offering drinks + food store owners want to create a place where people can enjoy theirselves
  • goals: making the shopping experience more personal and thus make people aware of what they buy; consumers like to know what they buy as well
    –> making shopping experience more personal
  • According to the grounded theory I repeated the interviews until no new data was revealed meaning that the answers of the store owners got repeated in some answers.


The decision to make depth interviews with owners or employees at concept stores offered information that is more personal and related to their motivations, attitudes and goals. In terms of finding out what the idea behind concept stores is, it helped me a lot.

As a result I think this method has a high validity because the depth interviews were really appropriate to answer the research question.

The concept stores I interviewed are all located in Amsterdam. During my desk research I found these stores, which were referred to as concept stores on the internet, and therefore decided to interview them. As a result the external validity suffered a little in this case because I did not choose the stores all randomly.


SHORT INTERVIEW via messengers using a projective technique

Interviewee: random consumers/ contacts from my contact list on Whatsapp/ Facebook
technique: „explain to alien“
question: Can you explain to an alien what a concept store is in your opinion?


Sam Jaspers, 21, Belgium





Caroline Bahl Clauson, 22, Denmark




Eva Schmidt, 23, Germany

Isabell Kloss, 23, Germany





I have chosen this method to get insights from the opposite side of the store owners – the consumer side – which plays an important role in the research.
Through interviews via social media messengers, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, I asked people from my contact list to explain to an alien what a concept store is.

In terms of external validly this method could have been improved by asking random people on the street and not only friends. The problem which occurs with asking friends is that we shared the same values and therefore could be described a homophilious in our way of thinking. Group thinking in that way is difficult because by asking only my friends, I limit the capacity of getting diverse answers.

Key findings:

  • opinions and definitions about concept stores mostly accord with the ones of the concept store owners/ employees
  • interviewees all claim that there is „something more“ which a concept store offers – higher quality products, an experience, more than just products (coffee, haircut)
  • all respondents think that a concept store has an overall theme/topic
    –> BUT: this opinion was never mentioned by the store owners; as a result there are two different pictures of concept stores from the consumer and the store owners side


OBSERVATION – of products, setting and atmosphere in concept stores; documented by camera and notes

All The Luck in the World – Concept Store, Amsterdam de Pijp
offers: second hand clothing for woman, plants, books, accessories, bags, shoes

Cotton Cake – Concept Store, Amsterdam de Pijp
offers: clothing for woman, underwear,  jewellery, shoes, bags, books + coffee + cake

Hartje Oost – Concept Store, Amsterdam Oost
offers: second hand clothing for woman, plants, books, accessories, bags, shoes

Kolifleur – Concept Store, Amsterdam de Pijp
offers: second hand clothing for woman, plants, books, accessories, bags, shoes

Restored – Concept Store, Amsterdam Haarlemmerdijk
offers: calendars, books, interior, plants, jewellery, bags, beauty

ABOUT. Lifestyle for men – Concept Stores, Amsterdam Haarlemmerdijk
offers: interior, gifts, books, beauty, clothing, shoes, bags, postcards

Six and Sons – Concept Stores, Amsterdam Haarlemmerdijk
offers: interior, gifts, books, beauty, clothing, shoes, bags, postcards

Concrete Matter – Concept Store, Amsterdam Haarlemmerdijk
offers: second hand clothing for woman, plants, books, accessories, bags, shoes

Key findings:

  • all visited stores sell a range of different brands
  • the products which are sold are not limited to a specific type, most shop offer a wide range from clothing, accessories, drinks+food to jewelry and books
  • all observed concept stores were nicely arranged and the products were presented in a thought through way
    –> creates a nice and comfortable atmosphere
  • all stores were playing music


The 0bservation method was helpful and also appropriate for the research question in terms of finding out more about the concept behind concept stores through neutrally observing the locations, products and atmosphere. As a result the internal validity is high. To further improve the internal validity an independent observer could have interpreted the findings. This could have been useful to avoid observational bias. Another option would have been to ask a group of researches to also observe concept store in terms of products, location and atmosphere to avoid the streetlight effect and aim for a higher internal validity.


Overall Conclusion & key findings

Quality of research:

The research has a high internal validity because I made use of different approaches and used the cultural triangulation: interrogation (interviews), observation, intuition (interpretation where I draw a layer of insights + experienced on the gained data collected during the interrogation and observation process)

Threats to validity and reliability can come from the following:

  • researcher
  • the situation or context
  • the methods of data collection and analysis

To aim for a high validity of the research I in all my used methods I tried to be as neutral as possible to avoid any bias. Therefore I reflected my behaviour before and after gathering data.

Desk research:

  • through making the sources from my desk research transparent to anyone by creating a source list (websites pinned on Pinterest wall) the method is reliable. Anyone can yield the same results by using the source list


  • the observation has a high internal validity because I recorded the observation (collected data) with a camera and thus took care to conduct the measurements carefully
  • Through choosing the observed concept stores as randomly as possible the methods is external valid because, according to the sample method, the more random a researcher chooses his sample the more likely it is that the sample is a good mirror of the population
  • To improve the internal validity of the observation another researcher could have observed the same concept stores independently (to avoid observational bias). Further the data from the observation should be compared with the data from my research. By doing this confirmation bias can be avoided.

Depth interview:

  • Achieving reliability was hard because each interview was unique. By preparing 3 open-ended questions I asked each interviewee and thus improved the reliability. But as I wanted to aim for deep insight and motivations I left space for a dialogue. As a result the method is appropriate to measure what I wanted to measure (the idea behind, meaning insight and motivations) and thus the method is valid.
  • By recording the interviews I improved the reliability of the research and also avoided confirmation bias, because humans perception follows a schema when observing and filter results unconsciously. To further improve the internal validity I could have asked an independent researcher to independently interpret the results.

The whole research is valid because the study accurately reflects the specific concept and provided answers to the research questions, meaning what I attempted to measure.

The study’s design was thought through at the beginning of the research process and by choosing appropriate and different approaches (cultural triangulation: interrogation (interviews), observation), which involve all parties that are related to the research question (consumers, store owners) the research has a high internal validity.

To further improve the quality of the research a longer research period could have increased the validity and reliability of the research as well as doing the research with a group of researchers to compare independently gathered data and avoid bias.


Key findings and answers to the research question: What is the idea behind concept stores?

  • There is no exact definition or general concept of concept stores; each store, referred to as a concept store, follows a slightly different and unique concept created by themselves. The main idea, according to my research, behind concept stores is to create an offline shopping experience that goes beyond convenient shopping to fulfil consumer needs. What all concept stores have in common is that they want to offer their consumers products and services with an added, unique and special value. Concept stores want to create atmosphere, add personal value, selling a story, increase the personal shopping experience and as a result attract consumers by making offline shopping more valuable for The research findings predict that the future of concept stores is bright because all interviewed store owners said (which agrees with the desk research) that shops need to offer a special value to attract consumer in the future. As concept shops are doing so by making the shopping experience more personal, exciting or valuable the concept of concept stores is yet to become more popular but also diverse.


Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.