Is It a Branch? Or a Store? It’s Deutsche Bank’s Q110

Deutsche Bank built a revolutionary branch prototype back in 2005, something it named Q110. Besides being a gorgeous architectural statement, the branch is one of the most progressive you’ll see anywhere in the world, combining most — if not all — of the latest ideas and newest innovations in financial retailing.

Before you read any further, go to this website and take the bank’s virtual tour. The branch could have been dull and boring and this interactive tour would still be awesome. Other banks have done virtual tours of their branches before, but never one this cool.

There are four “hot spots” you can move to within the virtual tour. In each hot spot, you can rotate your view 360° with your mouse. And not just left and right rotation. If you want to look at the ceiling, go for it. You can even zoom in [SHIFT key] and zoom out [CTRL key].

To make bank products more tangible, Q110 customers shop for financial products in off-the-shelf boxes, like in a supermarket. But Deutsche didn’t settle for a typical retail box (like Jyske or BNZ). Deutsche opted for tins. (See detail photo near the bottom of this article.) Very classy, very cool and probably very few are thrown away once they get home.

But that’s not all Deutsche Bank is retailing. They’ve got windowed storefronts displaying shelves full of soaps, candles, games, lotions, magnets, glass figurines, piggy banks, handbags, portfolios and logowear from just about every football club in Europe.

You can almost hear the bank’s salespeople saying, “What a lovely purse! Would you like a checking account with that today? There’s a discount if you get both.”

Reality Check: Most banks are good at warehousing money, but they aren’t nearly prepared to operate a retail store that includes challenges like “inventory” and “shrinkage.”

The Q110 name is short for Quartier 110, a mixed-use building on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. Friedrichstrasse is a major European shopping Mecca, so the branch’s heavy retail theme and product displays should help pull a curious and unsuspecting public off the streets and into the branch.

Occupying an impressive 13,500 square feet (1,260 square meters), Deutsche Bank’s Q110 is being used as a platform for testing new branch features and technologies. The bank planned on rolling out successful Q110 elements including the Trendshop, lounge, product tins, and private advisory rooms to its other branches in Munich and Aachen.

But wait, there’s more.

As if the virtual tour wasn’t enough, the bank even took their Q110 concept to SecondLife. You can see a video about it on YouTube.

The architectural design firm on the project was Schwitzke & Partner, who has nine more photos of the project at their website.

This beautiful and innovative branch prototype is unquestionably deserving of a Breakthrough Brand Award from The Financial Brand.

The vestibule has an optional concierge station.
The seating arrangement drives traffic left of the greeter.

The lounge has a half dozen sofas and seating for at least 30 people.

A close-up view of the lounge. There’s a full espresso bar, with seating for 6 more.
Notice the library of books.

The Q110 branch includes what Deutsche Bank calls the “Trendshop.”
You can buy various items for the home, family or the office. Oddly, the signs are in English.

Within the Trendshop, Deutsche Bank retails items
from around Europe, including popular sports teams.
The bank rotates various big brand, major label retail items on a regular basis.

Bank employees circulate openly as a sales cleark might do in a regular store.
They present and discuss products with customers face-to-face.

A plasma screen near the entrance shows which employees are working that day.
The headline “Ihre Ansrechpartner” literally translates to “Your Greeting Partners.”
You’ve got to love Maxi’s title in the picture (above): “Produktinnovationen.”

The open floor plan almost entirely eliminates walls, counters and other barriers.

A foosball table? That’s the second foosball table to show up in an article about branches
here at The Financial Brand in the last two weeks.

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