The Swedish H&M chain is opening a store with a new concept in Berlin: a local hub, offering yoga and local brands. Moreover, the store also offers second-hand clothing from other brands and has a clothing borrowing service.
Yoga garden and bar in 308 sqm
At the end of November, H&M will pioneer a new concept in the trendy Mitte district in Berlin, which has been conceived by H&M Lab. The retailer's innovation centre is focusing on a curated, local experience - most noticeably is the absence of the fashion giant's large red logo that stands out the most when entering the centre.
"A hyper-local small flagship store", is the way in which Anna Bergare of H&M Lab describes the establishment named Mitte Garten. Although the store is just 308 sqm small, a lot smaller than the average store size of 1,700 sqm, it still features a pub, a showroom and a garden. Yoga sessions will be held in the courtyard on Fridays, but there will also be Christmas markets and other events.
Curator and host of local labels
Inside, there is a vegetarian café by Berlin's Daluma. There is also a selection of beauty products in the same concept for sale in the store. H&M is taking on the role of curator and host, as other Berlin brands are also offered in the shop.
"We want to create a collaborative platform here, whether it is digital or in-store", Bergare explains to Business Insider. A local second-hand partner, Out of Use Berlin, has been granted permission to hang worn clothing of other brands on the shelves. Even more striking is the basement of the establishment, featuring a showroom where customers can try on items from both the brand new collection and 'iconic' previous collections. Customers can even borrow the clothes for 48 hours, free-of-charge, or for the cost of cleaning them, if necessary.
Because of the smaller surface area, other choices have also been made with regard to their own range of products. For example, only 300 different items are displayed in the shop, out of the full range of 7,000 products. The 'inspiration tablets' in the shop therefore play an important role, since customers can add items from the online-only range to their shopping basket.
Shoppers can then simply pay for their virtual and physical shopping basket together at the in-store checkout, using a QR code that they receive on their smartphone. As an extra service, they can also choose to have everything delivered to their homes in one go, making H&M one of the few chains that puts 'hands-free shopping' into practice.
Service is becoming an essential part of the shopping experience, Bergare explains, while another facet is sustainability. For example, the Swedish lab is still looking at possibilities such as renting clothing, or buying a piece of clothing with your best friend. "We want as few clothes as possible to end up in the back rooms and ultimately being thrown away." H&M also believes the new store concept is suitable for other metropolitan locations.