H&M today unveiled a new year-round brick-and-mortar concept store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s actually a multi-purpose store with a new setup rotating in the space of over 7,000 square feet through January 2024. H&M sees it as a style destination and a lab, a fashion premiere home rotating of its kind, with a constantly changing new theme every four to 12 weeks.
The first is Brasserie Hennes, “Serving up Style in Williamsburg,” said a teaser on the brand’s microsite, calling it “a new local-brewing experience.” Don’t expect to find food here, at least not in this first iteration, the brewery. A coffee stand will be part of a later store concept. H&M Williamsburg will also host exclusive programming and branded moments in the space, which is located at 92 North 6th Street.
In an age of diminishing consumer loyalty and all about almighty price, retailers are pulling out all the stops to engage and retain customers. “Your inbox is about to get a lot more stylish! Discover exclusive offers, trend alerts, first access to our new collections and more. Plus, don’t miss out on all your member rewards, your birthday offer and special invitations to events!” says the microsite.
The brand calls the different versions of the store “chapters,” and each will look and feel different with updated fashion, visuals, experiential events, and a slew of local neighborhood partners. H&M said it was “bringing to life a new store concept that moves at the speed of style”.
The brasserie is inspired by a wintry French restaurant that invites visitors to a cozy place to relax in the afternoon or evening. The space features fashion from H&M’s holiday collections, as well as a curated market of local Williamsburg merchants selling everything from fragrances, homewares, vintage pieces, gourmet foods, accessories and products. of beauty.
“H&M has always been synonymous with fashion, fun and self-expression,” Linda Li, head of customer activation and marketing for H&M Americas, told me. “This new in-store experience showcases our DNA with ever-changing events, style and activations for a full year.
“We are constantly trying to engage and reach our customers in new and exciting ways and this new space shows how we are progressing with a customer-centric mindset versus a product-centric mindset,” Li said. “We view this new in-store experience as a test, and although we have no plans to reveal at this time, we are always open to new possibilities.”
No matter what time of year or “story” presented, certain elements of H&M Williamsburg will remain constant. It will always have a space dedicated to capturing content (selfies) and an inspiring display. Starting in the new year, evergreen partner activations from three local Brooklyn-based brands will have their own dedicated space in the store. These partners will provide the essentials that define the perfect day in Williamsburg: a coffee station, magazine rack and music that serves as the soundtrack to the space.
Why Williamsburg? “New York is the home of H&M in the United States, so we wanted to try this test in a bustling New York neighborhood with a fashion-loving shopper, so we knew we had to come to Williamsburg,” Li said. will be the first H&M outlet in the neighborhood and the first store of its kind for the brand in the world.
“We see this one-year in-store experience as a test to try something new for our customers and find out what they like best. Although we don’t have anything to reveal at this time, we are open to the possibilities,” Li said.
“We invite our loyal fans and new customers to experience H&M in a new light,” Li added, noting that the retailer combines style, culture and exclusive experiences in the Williamsburg store.
“We will of course be measuring traffic, sales, engagement, interest and interactions with our loyalty program and brand awareness through this placement,” Li said. “However, for us, this new experience in-store is a real test, so these kinds of KPIs are more benchmarks to determine how this new store is performing compared to our traditional stores, and to determine what our customers’ needs are.”
Customers visiting H&M Williamsburg will also be exposed to the latest retail technology to facilitate their shopping. With widespread RFID, store employees will have full visibility of inventory and size options in real time.
There’s mobile payment from anywhere in the store, smart mirrors in fitting rooms that identify customers’ products, including size and color, and provide personalized product or style recommendations .
Smart mirrors use the same RFID technology to collect information about items a customer has brought into the fitting room and mirrors collect product data. Li said it was the first use of smart mirrors in an H&M store in the world.
“Having collaborated on so many successful projects over the past fifteen years with H&M, we are thrilled that our Williamsburg-born and based agency, The Gathery, has been asked to bring this creative and progressive business to life in our own neighborhood.” , said Nicky Balestrieri, co-founder of The Gathery. “We’ve known for a long time that the future of retail is in the experience, so joining forces on a project like this, which will ultimately benefit our community, was a no-brainer. We’re excited for our neighbors to visit this ever-changing space throughout the next year and experience H&M in a whole new light.
“We will be partnering with local businesses throughout the 12 month tenure in a variety of ways. We want to use H&M Williamsburg as a platform for our neighbors to sell their select selections during peak times,” Li said. “Evergreen partner activations for three local Brooklyn brands will be revealed in the new year. “
H&M Williamsburg comes at a time when brick-and-mortar retail is on the hook. Consumers seem more interested in visiting stores after two years of shopping online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it remains to be seen how shoppers will react to the store, especially during the chaotic holiday season.
“As the ways consumers want to shop, interact and have fun evolve, H&M continues to transform its business to be customer-centric,” the retailer said. “H&M has always been at the intersection of modern culture and fashion, with New York as its home in the United States. With the brand’s arrival in the iconic Brooklyn neighborhood, H&M is truly celebrating Williamsburg.