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Retail Pills
February 18, 2024

Functionality meets Experience: Bershka Flagship by OMA

Bershka Milano, by OMA, transcends the conventional retail store, becoming a space where architecture, technology, and fashion converge to create a dynamic and immersive shopping experience. This architectural endeavour revitalises a historic venue, a cinema in the centre of Milan, transforming it in a new archetype for the retail spaces of the future.

Bershka’s flagship store challenges the boundaries between physical and digital, through an organisation of the physical space that, with the help of technology, embodies the possible customers’ journeys offered.

The phygital customer experience
The physical point of sale has always been a key touchpoint in the customer journey. However, even though through the use of technology the retail world is changing towards an increasingly strong digitalisation, numerous studies have shown that the majority of sales still take place at the physical point of sale: while people are becoming more and more accustomed to using digital, they still do not want to give up the possibilities that only the physical shop can offer. Consequently the transformation is going in the phygital direction, and Bershka Flagship store by OMA in Milan, is one of the most recent example of the phygital experience shift.

Recognisable function areas
Intending to create a customisable experience for different types of customers, all spaces have a strong identity, thanks to distinguishable layouts and the choice of ad hoc materials. Cement grey and cool lights dominate the large entrance, and at the back is an imposing wood-clad spiral staircase, that also serves as a totem for orientation on the three shop levels. The checkout desk is made of pink resin. The click & collect area is clearly distinguishable as an illuminated column, while at the bottom are the automatic fast cash desks. Each function within the store is characterised visually and through materials, colours, and lighting, thus making the use of the different spaces intuitive and explicit.

The digital connections
On the first floor, there are screens on which to play with augmented reality activated by QR codes on purchasable t-shirts. Customers can take videos and selfies with a range of filters. A hi-tech counter houses quick checkouts for self-check-out.
The fitting rooms work like this: a slot is booked to access private dressing rooms that can accommodate several people; a device recognises how many and which garments are brought into the dressing room and a screen advises on the different combinations with other Bershka garments that can be created. The lighting can be changed to selfie-proof with friends. An augmented reality experience has also been introduced in the fitting rooms: it is possible to take pictures of yourself with special 3D effects of worn garments. On the third floor are the traditional fitting rooms, where the return of garments is technologically enhanced: clothes that are not purchased are placed in boxes, which automatically sort and reorder the pieces.

Blurring the boundaries between digital and physical
In the Bershka Flagship store, the design considers the fast-evolving landscape of retail, offering a dual experience satisfying both physical and digital customers. The store provides various speeds of engagement, ranging from leisurely exploration to quick transactions, reflecting the diverse rhythms of contemporary customer experience. Bershka’s flagship store effectively blurs the boundaries between physical and digital, establishing a new archetype for retail experience design.


Iannilli, V. M.; Spagnoli, A. (2021). Phygital Retailing in Fashion. Experiences, Opportunities and Innovation Trajectories. (link)




Milano, Italy

Image Credits

© Photo by Marco Cappelletti, courtesy of Bershka and OMA


Experience, Retail Formats, Service, Technology


#phygital #retailexperience #servitization