The DO > Making Retail Space the 21st Century Town Square

Making Retail Space the 21st Century Town Square

The challenge

How can we add new relevance to brick and mortar stores in times of e-commerce and digital shopping? How do we raise satisfaction amongst employees and establish new trustful ways of working? How might we address the needs of local communities as a fashion brand?

The Approach

The program was kicked off with a co-creation series with the partner and The DO School to define a vision for a renewed store concept. Pilot stores were chosen across 5 brands in 7 countries. Managers and staff members formed teams. The DO School guided participating stores  through developing initiatives based on the needs of their local communities. They received training, logistics support and mentoring from our facilitators. The DO School developed an online platform for communication and inspiration and constructed a dedicated user journey for more stores to join with their initiatives, offering tools and resources to stores for each phase.

What really appeals to me about this is the initiative team spirit. This is our chance to give something back to others.

- Store Manger, Berlin Steglitz


A palpable sense of excitement and motivation amongst employees and community members has taken root. Together with our partner, we identified KPIs to be consistently tracked throughout the program: Employee Satisfaction, Customer Perception, and Community Impact. 

Stores developed new initiatives that activated their purpose in the community, such as:

  • Fighting plastic waste by organizing garbage clean-up days at a nearby beach in Barcelona
  • Supporting refugee fashion designers in Berlin
  • Creating a circular system for shopping bags that includes tailors with disabilities in Munich
  • Turning one part of the shop into a gallery space for local artists in Magdeburg
  • Raising awareness and customers’ time for homeless people in Madrid
  • Promoting female empowerment in times of Corona in Berlin
  • Socially empower kids from less well off families in Esslingen
  • Create a mindset of waste reduction in Friedrichshafen
  • Fight period poverty in Newcastle
  • Empower fashion communities of the elderly in Amsterdam
  • Support local water support for the poorest in Valencia


My Store is more than the sum of its parts. It’s not just many projects, it’s a movement that empowers employees to find allies in their local communities to take action on social and environmental causes they care about. By doing so in a growing number of stores around the globe they make the world a little better, step by step and store by store.

Community, neighborhood, and locality are the future building blocks of Purposeful Retail. It’s about coming together and asking yourself: “What part do I play as an organization within this community?

- Head of HR, H&M Group Germany

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