I Finally Realized Why The Concept Of H&M Is So Much Better On Paper Than In-Store
October 7, 2008, 3:51 pm
Filed under: 2008, Random, Stores | Tags: , , , , ,

It has perplexed me ever since last year when the first local H&M burst into the dumpy Coquitlam Centre, then took over Holt Renfrew’s old space in Vancouver’s upscale Pacific Centre mall.  H&M looks marvellous on their website, and in all ads. If you imagine your last view of any H&M poster, you will likely have a mental picture of Daria Werbowy looking perfectly airbrushed while covered in pieces that (gasp) you can afford, and will likely look good on a range of body types.

The trouble is when you get into the actual retail environment, chaos is thrown at you from every angle.  I’m not even referring to things organized neatly; I’m talking about the company’s perceived complete lack of preparation with their store’s visual designs.

For instance, last Sunday I ventured into the Vancouver flagship location.  It was painfully busy, though this was acceptable and entirely predictable.  What a shopper can’t handle, is trying to dodge rabid bargain hunters while being simultaneously bombarded with a complete mess of visuals. 

I wandered upstairs to the “young adult” section, and there was no complimentary color organization. Everything was lumped together, and silently screaming at me to look at it.  I can tell you right at that moment that I got an instant headache. 

Why is it so difficult for this brand to pick their five top Fall shades, and organize their pieces in their stores accordingly? It would create much less buying stress for their customers, and likely cause consumers to buy more; as they would be finding increased amounts of what they were initially looking for without the added stress of having to sift through piles and racks randomly.

On paper, H&M appears organized, polished and embodies most of what the average style conscious trend follower would want to be.  In-store, they’re an absolute mess that discourages buying.

I wonder what the revenue difference a made-over store would have when compared to one who has not…  It’s a curious concept.  The whole idea may just be wacky enough to make sense.

H&M, can you hear me?


4 Comments so far
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Wasn’t this website salivating not long ago at the prospect of H&M moving into Pacific Centre? Is the honeymoon already over? 🙂

I agree with you in that part of the problem is the popularity of the store. If the store is constantly thronged with customers (and it usually is), it would be a problem trying to keep the store relatively clean. Arrive late in the day at H&M Pacific Centre, and it’s not a surprise that the fitting rooms are teeming with clothes waiting to return back to the sales floor, and certain areas are messy.

As for the merchandising, I think a little sympathy is in order. If it is true that H&M receives daily deliveries of replenishment and new stock, it would be a constant challenge for the merchandisers to keep the layout and placement of clothing attractive. Besides, it doesn’t necessarily deter the average shopper to the store.

I would rather sort through a myriad of options than to have a few pieces or colours filtered through a trend forecaster.

Comment by emmy

Hah! I wish there was a permanent honeymoon period. I suppose I expected better from a much-hyped flagship store.

Also, I wasn’t saying limit the selection, I’m asking for organization. Color grouping is a bit different than heavy trend filtering!

Comment by Victoria Potter

But isn’t selective colour choice or organization a form of trend forecasting? Isn’t what is NOT included as important as what is displayed on shelves?

Comment by emmy

No, you don’t seem to understand what I’m saying here. Instead of having everything scattered, group it. There’s no removing of designs or styles involved here, just clumping colors together.

Comment by Victoria Potter

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