GDR visits … H&M’s Hammersmith concept store

Dec 14, 2018

H&M has redesigned its three-floor store in London’s Hammersmith to look nothing like H&M. GDR’s Babette-Scarlett Schossau paid it a visit to see how the space has been transformed.

H&M gave its 2,300 square metre store in Hammersmith, London a complete makeover that looks and feels nothing like the H&M we know. With a Mediterranean-style interior, an arrangement of clothes and accessories that sells not just a look but a lifestyle, a focus on reusing and recycling clothes, and a new system of in-store online shopping and self-service checkouts, H&M is almost unrecognisable in this concept store.

Here are my favourite features:

 

Mediterranean feel

H&M Hammersmith’s new look certainly causes passers-by to slow down after catching a peek. The new Mediterranean feel of the store begins with an exterior of greenery in window boxes above the main door, outsize carriage lamps, plants inside the main shop windows, and small trees standing outside by the entrance. Inside, the interior is warm and welcoming, with brown walls, flagstone flooring and a plethora of live trees and plants. Terrace-style chairs and wooden stools are dispersed throughout the store for waiting customers to use. The waiting rooms continue the theme of muted, warm, sepia-wash colours with their herringbone-pattern grey brick flooring, neutral, ‘natural’-coloured curtains, slatted plain wooden ceiling, and green plants. Mirrors are arched Mediterranean-style.

Hero lighting is provided by multiple spots on overhead tracks, and low tables display accessories that serve as an adjunct to the product displays. Low product density makes the store feel spacious and more upscale. Close to the entrance a permanent florist shop-in-shop offering bouquets of seasonal blooms allows customers to leave with a Christmas jumper and a bouquet of flowers. One distinct feature that provides a focal point is the mid-shop wrought iron and dark wood staircase leading to the first floor. Eschewing escalators completely, the see-through steel structure promotes a more upscale rather than grab-and-go environment. Italian and Spanish music also fills the store.

 

H&M isn’t just clothes, it’s a lifestyle

Throughout the store, labels indicate staff picks, such as ‘party favourites’, ‘Secret Santa’ recommendations and ‘Hammersmith favourites’. Clothes displayed on tables are grouped together with accessories and H&M home products, such as candles, nail polish, and handbags, suggesting not just a look but a lifestyle to the customer, reminiscent of fashion brand Anthropologie.

A makeup and beauty station on the first floor invites customers to try out soaps in a dedicated stone sink (“Wash me!”) and smell scents (“Try me!”), before picking up a nail polish (“Buy me!”). On the same floor, screens outside the fitting rooms show images of customers wearing recent purchases that they have shared using #HMxME on Instagram.

 

Repair, Recycle, Reuse

The potential for social media sharing is increased by the brand’s new focus on circularity, encouraging customers to repair clothes, personalise them, or else recycle them in store so that they can be given a new life.

In the wake of negative press about disposable fashion, H&M has installed a ‘Repair and Remake’ station on the first floor where customers can have their clothes personalised with letters and symbols from just £3, and H&M Club members can have their H&M clothes repaired free of charge (non-members pay a fee), just like in the brand’s recently opened Paris flagship.

 

A new way of shopping

Signs throughout the store call our attention to the online in-store shopping mode that is available via the H&M App. Customers are able to save favourites by scanning items’ price tags, search for different sizes or colours, and explore what is available in-store on the day. Self-service checkout stations on the ground and basement floors alongside regular tills are another point of convenience for customers shopping at the H&M Hammersmith store.

Despite the conveniences of both online in-store shopping and self-service checkout stations, the redesigned H&M store invites customers to linger and take advantage of other services on offer – flowers, personalisation, clothes repairs, and so on. Moving away from grab-and-go retail, the new H&M store offers a more upscale, responsible, and convenient shopping experience for its customers.

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