H&M’s Rotating Style Store Makes a Sequin-filled Entrance to NYC
H&M opened its first rotating style store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in November 2022. The concept departs from the traditional H&M store footprint – as the name suggests, the store’s concept and design rotate every six weeks. The 7,000 square foot store is entirely immersive, inviting customers to take in the experience as they shop. At McMillanDoolittle, we are always taking the pulse on new retail concepts; we walk through highlights from H&M’s latest concept in the post that follows to inspire new changes in your business. If you’re a brand or retailer looking to deepen your connection with your customers, contact us.
Brasserie Hennes, the inaugural concept, is a nod to Paris’ vibrant café culture. The self-described “ice capped, disco brasserie” brings together customers, the H&M brand, and local retail partners. While Brasserie Hennes closed its doors on December 30th, the new year ushers in the store’s second rotational theme centered around health and wellness. The rotating style store is projected to remain open through the end of 2024.
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- Showstopping Design Details: The rotating style store bears no resemblance to a typical H&M store. Brasserie Hennes is enveloped in floor to ceiling silver décor, with no shortage of disco balls. The attention to detail offers a museum-like experience, where customers can view H&M merchandise in the context of a wintry, French brasserie.
- Local and Crowdsourced Collaboration: H&M’s engagement with local partners is impossible to miss as you move throughout the store. A cornerstone of the Brasserie Hennes concept is a holiday market, which featured a mix of housewares and small accessories from local vendors. Highlights include jewelry from Brooklyn-based jeweler Catbird and holiday candles from DS & Durga, a local perfumer. The partnerships are thoughtful and seamlessly integrate small businesses into the store experience. Connecting customers is also a priority for H&M – starting in January the store will offer consumer activations twice weekly with topics spanning art, music, fashion, and local business features. While in store there were very few other customers, so we were unable to observe the engagement with the in-store partnerships or customers’ purchasing behavior.
- Technology-Fueled Showroom: The store functions as a showroom, keeping only one size run of clothing on the sales floor. For customers to request additional sizes, they can tap the desired clothing on the smart mirrors located in the fitting rooms. The mirrors, equipped with RFID technology, identify the clothing’s color and size, and allow customers to request items on screen. In addition to requests, the smart mirrors also offer personalized styling recommendations. While the technology integration is certainly exciting and informative, instructional signage about where and how to use the smart mirrors is sparse throughout the store. The lack of instructions could lead to confusion, even among customers well versed in the latest retail technology. Customer data is an equally important benefit for H&M — the smart mirrors capture the product data of pieces customers are interested in trying on. Integrating RFID technology in-store also provides store employees complete, real time inventory visibility.
The H&M rotating style store is a memorable addition to Williamsburg’s retail corridor – the first iteration of the store offered an exciting, sequin-filled shopping experience. As many consumers reign in their discretionary spending heading into 2023, fostering a memorable and authentic customer connection is imperative to gain share of wallet. Brasserie Hennes’ Avant Garde design, industry-leading, in-store technology, and mindfully chosen local retail partners creates a true experience– a promising formula to build a lasting connection with customers.
Given the labor intensity and attention to detail required to create Brasserie Hennes, we are both interested and excited to see the store’s continued evolution throughout 2023, as well as if they’re able to maintain the high standards of execution they exhibited with Brasserie Hennes.