When we think of shopping Hermès, typically, or perhaps we should say traditionally, our minds go to major cities. Paris, Los Angeles, New York, even Las Vegas. Maybe even Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Vancouver. Hermès boutiques generally tend to be found in city centers or fashion metropolises- and rightfully so. These are the areas tourists and locals flock to, whether extremely wealthy or otherwise.
However, there’s an interesting trend in recent years. Whether propelled by the pandemic or otherwise, the orange-box brand has moved into smaller, more suburban locales, at least in the United States.
For those unfamiliar, suburbs are the surrounding towns, cities, and communities outside a major city. Residents often, at least pre-pandemic, commute to the big city for work, though in many areas, the suburbs are becoming economic centers of their own.
Slowly but surely, Hermès boutiques are popping up in increasingly more suburbs across the United States. You can’t help but wonder why a brand usually in the middle of hustle-and-bustle shopping capitals is now looking towards the quieter communities outside the city? In some sense, it’s a shift. In fact, there was a time where you would have to venture out to go to Hermès, not the other way around. Whether it be on a vacation, day trip or weekend getaway, you came to the Birkin, not the other way around…
From Princeton, New Jersey to Troy, Michigan and everything in between, Hermès is bringing the Birkin to the ‘burbs. In just the past while, Hermès has either already opened up or is planning on opening stores in places like the American Dream Mall in New Jersey, the Aventura and Millennia Malls in Florida and the Roosevelt Field Mall in New York.
An interesting observation and one to ponder. Over the years, the per capita income of individuals living outside metropolitan city centers has steadily increased. Moreover, the suburbs themselves are growing. As they become larger and more affluent, they also house the exact client Hermès targets.
We suspect the pandemic has (or will) accelerated this growth. After all, Hermès thrived despite pandemic lockdowns and virtual elimination of travel. People shopped at home. And if they live in suburban areas, why not facilitate shopping there? Particularly when wealthy and aspirational customers call it home.
Moreover, it fits the Hermès model of cultivating a relationship with the brand, store, and Sales Associates. After all, it’s much easier to visit an SA at your local boutique rather than one hours away or that you only see when visiting the city. Put another way – if Hermès builds it, we will come. And the opportunity to experience the brand and get to know Sales Associates multiplies many-fold.
Seems like a win-win for Hermès. Hermès gains easier access to wealthy individuals. Spur of the moment pop-ins and purchases become de riguer (if not for Covid). In this strategy, we suspect Hermès is not only looking to bolster sales, but to also increase the breadth of its clientele. Being in locations beyond cities allows it to arguably reach more potential clients that otherwise could only visit when travelling.
Could a Hermès boutique be coming to a neighborhood near you soon? We’ll keep our eyes open and let you know.