Can H&M finally become a serious online competitor?
It’s not news that the fast-fashion retailer H&M has been behind the curve when it comes to keeping up with the shift by consumers to purchase more of their clothing online rather than in stores. Yesterday, the chain announced updates to its U.S. site and mobile app that will eventually deliver the changes promised by H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson during the company’s second quarter earnings call back in June.
On the call with analysts, Mr. Persson said H&M’s goal was to improve the customer experience by personalizing its apps and sites and greater integration of the chain’s physical and digital channels.
Among the new features listed by H&M for its new site and mobile app are visual search, scan & find, rate and review, the #HMxME style gallery, free returns to stores, live chat, payment via PayPal and new shipping options. This fall, the chain will introduce its “find in store” feature that will allow customers to locate items they wish to purchase at their local H&M.
With the new visual search feature, customers can upload images from their phones or from social media to H&M’s site where they will in return be offered a choice of similar styles from the retailer.
The scan & find option enables customers to scan an item in an H&M store to check if the chain’s site has it in a different size or color.
By way of its #HMxME page, the chain will curate and share a gallery of fashion from its customers all over the world.
H&M has been attempting to dig itself out of an excess inventory hole since the beginning of the year. The chain reported its fourth straight quarterly earnings decline in June, and acknowledged that it was engaging in significant markdown activity as it sought to bring inventory levels in line with demand.
- H&M Online Gets A Fashion Makeover! – H&M/PRNewswire
- H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB CEO Karl-Johan Persson on Q2 2018 Results (Earnings Call Transcript) – Seeking Alpha
- H&M’s Inventory Problem Forces It to Cut Prices Even More – Bloomberg
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which digital feature(s) in H&M’s new website and mobile app do you think will be most appreciated by the chain’s customers? Will H&M’s website and mobile app makeover help it regain its sales mojo or is it too far behind the curve at this point?