Report • 16.09.2015

TeaTales: A perfect concept for train stations

How a start-up successfully has been presenting a pop-up store in the high frequented Berlin central train station for one month

Nina Schröder and Philipp Löwenstein founded TeaTales in 2014...
The visitors liked it: Tea to go corresponds to the modern trend of healthy living
Source: TeaTales

The train station turned out to be an ideal location: the young start-up venture "TeaTales" is the winner of the "DB Next Station" context and got the chance to introduce its organic tea creations in a pop-up store at the Berlin Central Train Station for one month. A taste of the next generation of retailers in train stations.

The competition for the "Next Station" contest by German Railways (German: Deutsche Bahn) was fierce. The goal was to introduce concepts that breathe fresh air into the halls in the future and intended to enrich this specific retail environment. TeaTales was able to win over the judging panel. Their proposal: tea, iced or hot, in different sizes to go. Plus a so-called “Taste Bar" that lets you sample all tea varieties and purchase them in aluminum tea tins or as gift sets.

The icing on the cake and one of the main reasons why the judging panel chose TeaTales is an app that is specifically designed for travelers and commuters who are now able to order their beverage while they are still en route and just need to pick it up. "An Online-Offline combination will play an increasingly important role in the future for our retailers and travelers. TeaTales is keeping up with the times and has factored in precisely this aspect," explains Svetlana Naperstek, coordinator for DB Next Station. Die DB Station&Service manages the train stations of Deutsche Bahn and is thus responsible for the rentable spaces of the train stations. One part of making this decision was also the “healthy lifestyle” the start-up conveys with its selection.

Most importantly, getting noticed

After the contest in April, TeaTales was already permitted to operate in June for one month with a pop-up store right in the middle of the Berlin Central Train Station, considered the largest junction in Europe. "The reactions were great right from the very first day. Many people stopped, looked around and asked," says Nina Schröder, co-founder of TeaTales, "despite the fact that the set-up in the middle of the train station was quite the challenge. We were only able to build the store the night before its opening since the space was still being used and travelers weren’t supposed to be inconvenienced during peak travel times." Not the only unique aspect that came up at the train station that’s frequented by approximately 300,000 travelers and visitors every day.

"The customer footfall has made a substantial difference compared to previous locations. Our regular tea bar in the Markthalle 9 (English: Market Hall) in Kreuzberg is open four days a week at most. Unlike at the train station where we are open from 7 am to 8 pm seven days a week. We needed twice as many employees as we usually do," explains Schröder.

The design of the store also needed to meet the extraordinary conditions and attract special attention to entice customers. Mission accomplished: the light tone wood of the modular furniture, the aluminum tea tins and bright colors of the different teas in the white aluminum racks merged seamlessly into a modern, bright and sophisticated design.

"TeaTales has met all requirements of a pop-up store at the Central Train Station," says Paulina Habben of the Go-PopUp company that assisted TeaTales during the preparation. "A young and individual brand that makes it very easy for many commuters to directly test its product. The location is ideal since the area is highly frequented and accessible from four directions." That’s why the store features a very open floor plan design to create an all-around impression. Habben adds, “The concept is simple and reincorporated in the logo that shows a map of the world with the origins of the different types of tea. Plus, the tea is simply delicious."

Great revenues and even more potential

To actually be able to prepare this tea, the TeaTales team had to demonstrate the highest level of improvisation skills. "At our usual sites, a water connection is not an issue – but it certainly is in the middle of a train station,” explains tea lover Nina Schröder. The team quickly decided to connect water dispensers to the tea makers that were frequently replenished at neighboring tenants like Pizza Hut and Burger King. "Railway employees allowed us to set up a warehouse to store our supplies literally in their offices," says the well-traveled tea connoisseur and is excited about the ingenuity of all involved parties.

Their efforts paid off. "We quickly realized that the train station is a great location for us. We have analyzed consumer behavior during these weeks and already noticed certain patterns." The company had far more to go customers in the mornings that quickly grab something for their trip or to take to work. And in the afternoons, evenings and on the weekends it welcomed those people who had a little more time to linger, who tested the different flavors and purchased gift sets.

The app for ordering online turned out to be the right companion in this context. "An app for this type of highly frequented location truly makes sense and we will continue to offer it," says Schröder. She is happy to conclude that, "This was a great sales month despite the many improvisations. Plus, there is even more potential here." This is why TeaTales wants to continue working with Deutsche Bahn – initially, with more pop-up areas. Exactly what this will look like, however, has not been determined yet.

Author: Natascha Mörs/iXtenso.com

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