It s taken 13 years from the time Swedish fashion retailer HM HM landed on American shores for it to finally launch an e commerce site here. Cue the sound of hundreds of thousands of fashionistas flexing their click fingers and whipping out their credit cards.
HM s been hedging on the promise made three years ago to offer its of the moment apparel and accessories to masses of fashionistas living far from one of its 268 U.S. locations. In 2011 HM dipped a toe into the e tailing waters selling selected pieces from its Fall collection via fashion magazine Elle s website.
Though the items sold out in short order the company hesitated to roll out a dedicated online store citing that it needed more time to iron out any possible kinks that could hinder secure shopping receiving payments and work out any supply chain issues.
Postponing turned out to be prescient as the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh and subsequent deaths of over 1 000 workers put HM in the spotlight. Not for having garments produced on that site but for its outsized presence in a country that still offers its garment workers the lowest minimum wage.
HM s Helena Helmersson spoke to FORBES shortly before the collapse about steps the fast fashion retailer was taking to ensure workers were treated fairly. Shortly after the tragedy HM led a group of retailers to sign a safety agreement. That move inspired brand loyalty among customers who still wanted to shop but were feeling twinges of guilt about the conditions in which their trendy threads were made.
Today HM officially hit the switch without much fanfare. Just an announcement made on Twitter and Facebook Facebook to some 17 million followers. Daniel Kulle HM s U.S. president told WWD that the retailer was taking an omni channel approach with an updated mobile app to complement the e commerce site and physical locations in 32 states. The company also plans to mail print catalogues starting in the Fall. Kulle estimated that the four channels will reach 300 million people in the U.S. but declined to project sales.
Though it s major competitor Inditex Inditexwhich launched Zara online in 2010 has had a major headstart HM still has room to grab a piece of marketshare. And that market is significant. Forrester Research estimates that e commerce in the U.S. will top $262 billion in revenue in 2013 and increase to $370 billion by 2017.Inside HM's Quest For Sustainability In Fast Fashion Lydia Dishman Contributor HM's Gamble to Delay U.S. E Commerce Won't Pay Off Lydia Dishman Contributor HM and Zara Duke It Out for U.S. Online Sales While Urban Outfitters Moves on Facebook Lydia Dishman Contributor