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Evolving Store Concepts | H&M Williamsburg

Retail is fast-paced with store experiences continually evolving to keep up with new trends and customer expectations. We have seen many brands that are known for large format store spaces test out smaller, more curated store concepts. Why?

  • Big box or department stores are struggling to justify large footprints with less space and increasing cost to build stores as well as changes in people’s shopping behaviour.

  • Many people now get both inspiration and information online rather than in-store as we have previously seen.

The value proposition of ‘having great brands under one roof’ is no longer cutting the mustard as you can find any great brand by simply opening a new tab on your computer. Retailers that have experimented with the smaller store concept include Target, Walmart, Nordstrom and Kohl’s.

Kohl’s launched this new, smaller store concept late 2022 in Tacoma, Washington.

  • At 35,000 sq-ft this is much smaller than regular Kohl’s which average 80,000 sq-ft.

  • This store features a new and improved self-pickup area, clean and open sight-lines as well as mannequins that have different skin tones and come in different sizes.

H&M are also riding the wave with a smaller boutique concept in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

  • With location being so vital to the success of a smaller store format, Williamsburg is a great choice being a vibrant and fashion-loving neighbourhood.

  • At just over 7,000 sq-ft this H&M is considerably smaller than the US store size average of 20,000 – 25,000 sq-ft.

  • The store features a rotating mix of ‘most fashionable styles’ and will unveil a new ‘chapter’ every four to twelve weeks including fashion, visuals and events.

  • There will also be evolving activations that ‘pay homage to the iconic neighbourhood.’

  • The “first chapter” was centred around H&M’s ‘Brasserie Hennes’ holiday campaign inspired by a wintery French brasserie.

  • The best fashion from H&M’s holiday collections will be featured as well as a highly curated market of locals selling their seasonal goods for gifting such as home goods, gourmet foods and beauty products.

  • The second and current chapter of H&M Williamsburg is dedicated to H&M’s athletic brand – H&M Move.

  • The store has been transformed into a space featuring a kinetic tactile playground Move Studio.

  • This studio has relaxing chromotherapy lighting and free daily fitness classes run by local partners.

H&M Williamsburg contains all the latest retail technology including RFID for real time inventory numbers, mobile payment from anywhere in-store and smart mirrors in changing rooms that identify customers’ products and provide personalised styling suggestions.

From the beginning of this year, three Brooklyn based brands have opened dedicated spaces including a coffee station, magazine rack and music to serve as the soundtrack for the space.

H&M Williamsburg has done a great job of designing a hi-tech customer experience that really resonates with Williamsburg locals. We can’t wait to see what the next chapter will be.


This articles was written by Kate Bolland, Marketing Executive @RX. Kate is a graduate from Otago University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts – Psychology, Marketing and Communications alongside a Diploma for Graduates endorsed in Marketing. She is a whiz at blogging, social media posting and repurposes content for different channels bringing a positive enthusiasm.


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