With H&M’s newest New York store, in Times Square, the Swedish retail giant is proving bigger is only better if it comes injected with a concentrated does of technology. While the Manhattan flagship, which opens this Thursday, will indeed be huge at 42,00 square feet, it’s the LED screens, interactive displays, and in-dressing-room checkouts that are making it a brick and mortar outpost worth visiting.
Some of the techie aspects are merely flashy, necessary attention-grabbers in the store’s saturated new location. Seventy-foot high H&M logos are set on the building’s 45th floor, lit up to call attention to the skyline. Gigantic LED screens hang over the entrance and around the side of the building. More LED screens pepper the store, making it, as decor goes, like fashion’s version of a sports bar.
Meanwhile, the ground floor windows are interactive, which is probably more useful to draw in customers than merely gigantic lit-up signs among the rest of the area’s myriad, gigantic lit-up signs. More useful, there are iPad stations in some of the fitting rooms, and most sensibly of all, cash wraps also in the dressing rooms themselves. Lest you be worried the myriad LED screens will solely feature H&M-clad models, rest assured that they play a part in the store’s interactive plan, too. Shoppers trying on clothing can do a catwalk near the fitting rooms, enter their email address to have the video sent to them and be advised what time it’ll also play in store. The shareable video will also be automatically tagged #hmtimessquare, ready for its social media star turn. It’s advertising, interaction, and a retail-customer relationship builder all in one go.
Here’s hoping it works. There are plenty of shoppers for whom a mega store in Times Square is a personal version of hell on Earth, but with the chance to interact differently with the brand, added technology (letting people check out in the fitting rooms is a seriously good idea) should ease some of the pain of dealing with a behemoth store.