H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB is a Swedish retail clothing company that is known internationally for its affordable fashion for men, women, and children. With 2,776 stores in 48 markets, H&M has been ranked the second largest clothing retailer in the world. Though the clothing company has gained a reputation for being fashion forward, the same cannot be said about its ability to keep up with online shopping demand. H&M currently offers online shopping to customers in just eight of its 48 markets around the world: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and the United Kingdom, but none in the United States. This has U.S. customers scratching their heads in confusion and growing impatient. The retailer stirred up excitement back in January 2011 with a tweet that stated:
“Good morning is an understatement! H&M has decided to have online shopping in the U.S. at the turn of the year 2011/2012! Stay tuned for more.”
Unfortunately, two years have passed and H&M has failed to deliver on that promise. The retailer is still “not set up for mail order, phone orders or e-commerce at the present time”. However, there is still hope for U.S. customers. H&M’s 2013 Expansion Strategy revealed: “Investments will also continue within online sales. H&M plans to launch online sales in the US, the world’s largest market for e-commerce.” Business Week also reported that shopping from H&M’s website could happen as early as Summer 2013.
Entering the U.S. online retail market goes beyond satisfying millions of America’s fashion lovers. “The U.S. online retail market is the biggest in the world; research firm Forrester estimates it will reach about $260 billion this year. Taxes vary by state, shoppers expect free shipping, and returns are common”. The process is quite complex and H&M has cited “issues with security, customer service, logistics, and the assortment of items offered” as reasons for delay. But the longer the retailer waits, the more demanding customers become. Not only are U.S. customers looking for the ability to shop online, but they are also expecting the company to have smartphone applications available, too. H&M says they will meet this demand. For investors sake, H&M cannot disappoint because the company’s competitors have already figured out how to engage their U.S. customers in online shopping.
With just a few weeks left till summer, anticipation for the launch of H&M’s online store will grow largely. Having only photo galleries of tasteful, trendy clothes and accessories will not be enough for die hard shoppers this year and if the project fails to launch, there could be dreadful consequences for the company. In ending, some important questions to consider are: Do you think H&M waited too long to enter the U.S. online market? Is this expansion strategy necessary in today’s retail industry? How do you think launching an online store will affect H&M’s competitors? Finally, on a scale of 1-10, how important is online shopping for you? Does it affect the way you shop?
Business Week: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-28/h-and-ms-online-troubles-u-dot-s-dot-shoppers-are-still-waiting
H&M Expansion Strategy: http://about.hm.com/AboutSection/en/About/Facts-About-HM/About-HM/Expansion-Strategy.html#cm-menu
Annual Report: http://about.hm.com/content/dam/hm/about/documents/en/Annual%20Report/Annual-Report-2012_en.pdf
5 thoughts on “Fast Fashion to Hit the U.S.”
I am shocked that H&M has not yet enabled online shopping for United States customers. It seems as though most companies entered into the online shopping industry years ago, H&M is way behind. It is also confusing that H&M promised online shopping access to U.S. customers in 2011 and has yet to follow through with their promise. By not entering into the U.S. online market, this company has missed out on a lot of profit. In 2013, expansion into the online retail industry is vital. It allows people in any state or city to have access to their brand. All time and money H&M invests in this expansion will abundantly pay off for the company. Although I do not frequently purchase clothing online, I do look online for fashion inspiration. If a clothing company does not have an online store, it makes me think that the company is stuck in the past. Online shopping signifies progress and success- H&M should take note.
i personally love shopping at H&M. They have great outfits for really cheap prices. And if you use Foursquare you are able to get more great deals. But what would make this company even more profitable in the US would be to use online shopping.. Shopping online is a large percentage of retail due too convenience. WIthout the usage of online shopping they are instantly losing out on hundreds maybe thousands or more of customers.
I was very surprised by your post, I never knew that H&M did not offer online shopping. It seems unbelievable to me that in today’s day and age any retailer as large as H&M would not have an online store. I don’t think it’s too late to enter the online market, clearly people want to shop at H&M, it’s the second largest clothing retailer, adding an online store should significantly boost their sales. H&M’s competitors should be very worried because adding an online store can do nothing but help H&M’s already high sales volume.
While it would be nice for H&M to have an option for online shopping, I think they’re still doing extremely well in the US market as it is, even without online shopping. I think that they are making a smart decision in waiting to launch the option until it is perfect since there is such a high level of expectation riding on them from both consumers and investors. I do think that the online shopping launch will allow them to reach customers who may not have a nearby H&M location and help them widen their customer base. I also think the online store will allow them to expand their selections as well, and perhaps carry items that they may not carry or have in stock in stores. As a current H&M shopper, I don’t think I would use the online option as much as going into the store. Since H&M is a European brand, their sizing can sometimes be tricky and varies a lot between each item, so physically going into the store to try on the clothes is pretty important to me as a customer. I would use the online shopping option if they did not have my size in stock or if they had a wider array of selections online, as well as free shipping. It should be interesting to see how the online launch goes.
I actually did not know that H&M were not online. I do believe that H&M has waited for a while but I do not think it will negatively effect them. If the website itself is not easy to maneuver then they will be in trouble. I do believe that the expansion is necessary as well because generation y is buying online more and more. I wouldn’t see there being too big of a shift. I mean the customers may spend different amounts of time on each site but at the end the customer buys what they want! For me, 4 is about right on the scale.