The Real Deal: Why It Took H&M So Long To Get Online

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hmPhoto: Courtesy of H&M
Today, of all glorious days, H&M finally launched its long awaited American e-commerce, allowing those shoppers without an H&M in spitting distance to have access to one of our favorite Swedish exports. Yet, why has it taken years for H&M to launch an online alternative? What challenges did heading e-retail present? We spoke to H&M spokesperson Marybeth Schmitt in order to get the skinny on what hurdles H&M had to jump over in order to go from solidly brick-and-mortar to a viable online entity.

Unlike competitors, H&M aimed to expand its actual physical presence instead of its virtual one. Says Schmitt, "Our goal was not to be first or the fastest. We always want to grow in a controlled way. Our focus over the past 13 years has been on expansion, with the opening of close to 300 stores across the country." Indeed, H&M is positively ubiquitous in major American cities (there are 11 in New York alone), but states like New Mexico, Arkansas, or Nebraska have nary a red-lettered store in sight. In order to prepare for the e-shopping onslaught, Schmitt assures us the brand is beefing up preparations and intend to see an increase in traffic.

The online shopping experience isn't just the only news, however: The debut of H&M e-commerce also marks the first time all shoppers have access to H&M home, which is only available online. Other net-only exclusives will appear, too, says Schmitt: "Additionally, we will offer exclusive online pre-shopping of its Paris Show Collection. Presented first on the runway during Paris Fashion Week, this collection will debut globally in approximately 200 stores and online September 5. However, U.S. customers will have the opportunity to be the first in the world to shop the collection by visiting hm.com on August 22." Of course, the most important announcement are the exclusive deals shoppers will get online, which include $10 knits, blazers, and pants and $5 for certain tanks and dresses.

H&M seems to have had its priorities IRL, but we've got to admit: We are glad it's joined us on the world wide web of shopping. Now we need to find something new to gripe about...