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H&M, one of the last big brands to sell online, launched its UK e-commerce site today. 

The launch follows that of Gap and Zara, two other fashion brands late into e-commerce in the UK. So how does the new site shape up? 

H&M 1

Homepage

If you arrive having searched for H&M in Google, you will not arrive at the e-commerce site, but the page shown in the screenshot above. 

There is a link to buy online at the e-commerce site, which is hosted at shop.hm.com, and shop online link is not the most prominent link on the page. Worse still, while there is a huge banner telling visitors they can now shop online with H&M, it doesn't actually link to the e-commerce site. Nuts. 

Why not just have the e-commerce site on the main page to make it easier for customers to buy?

Here's the homepage for the online store: 

H&M 2

The online store is in Flash, though users have the option of an HTML version. They seem to look almost exactly the same, so why not ditch the Flash version and avoid any issues with accessibility and SEO? As @gregpower points out on Twitter, none of its pages seem to be indexed on Google so far. 

Also, the site fills barely half the screen, limiting the amount of space H&M has to display its products, for no apparent reason. 

Navigation

My first thought on looking at the navigation menu at the top of the page was: what on earth is 'divided'? Having looked at this category, I'm still not sure. 

Once you click on a menu, the options are fine, though there aren't enough sub-categories or filtering options to narrow down product searches. This means that, if I select jeans, I have to browse through three pages of them: 

H&M 3

H&M also makes it harder than it needs to be to actually reach the product page. If you click on one of the product photos shown above, it doesn't take you straight to the page as you might expect, but opens a pop-up window: 

H&M 4

From here you have to click on one of the products on the right to see the product page, while if you want to get rid of this window and continue browsing, you have to aim for the cross at the top right, when allowing users to simply click elsewhere on the page would have been much more convenient. 

If users have expressed an interest in a product by clicking to go to the product page, adding another step to the process makes no sense. If H&M wants to do some cross-selling, it should do this on the page itself, or when users are viewing the shopping basket.

UPDATE: H&M has also omitted to add site search, something which might have been a useful alternative given the poor navigation. I was so busy picking other faults that I missed this point originally. 

Product pages

The product pages are basic, and could do a lot more to sell products and give customers the information they need to decide on a purchase. 

While the size guide is useful, and the zoom tool works well, certain elements just don't work at all. For instance, adding the item to the wish list takes you right out of the page when it doesn't need to. 

H&M 6

Also, there is no information on delivery and returns on the page. This can be found via the customer service link at the top, but this takes customers away from the product page, when it should be simple to provide this information there. 

The delivery options, when compared with most online retailers, are not appealing either. While the delivery charge of £3.90 is about average, the timescale for delivery is poor, and way to vague. 

According to H&M, customers will receive items 'around one week after we have received your order but during busy periods it may take longer'. This is not really good enough when most other etailers offer a range of delivery options and much more precise information. 

H&M 9

Checkout process

Having added a pair of men's trousers into my shopping basket, the cross-selling options (treggings, a poncho, and a cardigan) are not really going to appeal to a male shopper. This is basic stuff that H&M really should be getting right.

In fact, these three products are the cross-selling options, whatever you add to your basket, which means that large numbers of shoppers are just going to see products that are totally irrelevant to them. 

H&M 10

Once I select the checkout button, I get another attempt at cross-selling, from the home department. If I want a more relevant suggestion, I actually have to select 'men' from the options. 

This is a poor attempt at cross-selling. First of all, it makes no sense to out anything in the way of customers when they are heading to checkout, but the fact that these suggestions are irrelevant is even more annoying. 

H&M 11

With this kind of feature, I wasn't surprised at having to register before checkout, since H&M doesn't seem to have paid any attention to checkout best practice, and removing barriers to purchase. 

The checkout is also not enclosed, leaving distractions for shoppers who should be concentrating on purchase, and plenty of routes away from the process.

H&M 13

If you do happen to click one of the navigational links and leave the checkout, H&M empties your shopping bag and places the items in the checkout, which is bizarre. To get back to the checkout, you need to go through your empty shopping basket page before clicking the checkout link. A great way to confuse shoppers. 

H&M 12

H&M is also too strict with form validation, so you can only enter postcodes without any spaces, and if you enter the letter O instead of a zero, this will trigger an error message. Simply by anticipating common user input errors, and not being too strict with spacing etc, retailers can do a lot to minimise abandonment. 

Conclusion

This is a very disappointing site from H&M, as it has so many niggles that spoil the user experience on the site. Serving a Flash version by default when there is a perfectly good HTML version of the site seems utterly bizarre, while there are too many barriers placed between users and finding product pages or reaching the checkout. 

Graham Charlton

Published 16 September, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (66)

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Jamil Kassam, Online Selling Manager at John Lewis

Absolutely no thought about SEO - all the page titles are exactly the same!

about 6 years ago

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Lauren

I find this very frustrating - H&M have been one of the last large retailers to get on the ecommerce bandwagon and have every opportunity to learn from others successes and mistakes. But yet, they have managed to ignore all these, and worst of all ignored all ecommerce standards. 

Whilst i think the site looks very nice, they have really let the design over-power the functionality and usability of the site. And now what we know about accessibility and SEO in regards to using flash, it seems a very sloppy solution to something which could have been really well executed. 

about 6 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Really not good at all - is it an in-house job or agency?

Zara got a few bits wrong, but I actually bought from them last week and came out of pretty happy.

Their minor errors are nothing in relation to this, which falls down at key points right the way through the process.

Such a big brand should be doing much better, IMHO.

about 6 years ago

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Hero Grigoraki, Client Services Director at Webgains.com

looks above functionality - sounds pretty standard approach for this vertical really.

about 6 years ago

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Jerky Oats

This website really isn't very good. They should have consider the user journey a little more, and actually made it easy for people to buy and view the products.

However, these are minor amends and can be easily sorted out, I would suggest some user testing before this though.

It does 'look' nice, I'll give them that.

about 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

I'm not sure whether it is agency or in-house, though I suspect the latter. If anyone knows, leave a comment.

about 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

I'd love to know which agency built this, assuming it wasn't done in-house. 

about 6 years ago

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Jessica

Divided is a sub-line of H&M that includes clothing and accessories. The author clearly doesn't shop at H&M very often.

about 6 years ago

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Ben Adams

I'm speechless... I'd been waiting with anticipation to see what they launched. H&M had the cash, share of market and the opportunity to build a best of breed site. This is like a throwback to 5 years ago. I mean seriously, a site that defaults to flash with a replica HTML build too!?! I would also love to know who built it and which platform it was built on!

about 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Jessica - I have shopped at H&M but the Divided line seems to have passed me by. Still, that was the least of the problems with the site.

about 6 years ago

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Pierre

I've just took a few minutes for a quick look... obviously not the best shopping experience ever. So much pain to edit qty before adding item in cart.

Hope they will amend soon.

about 6 years ago

Artur Jach

Artur Jach, Technical SEO Manager at MPG Media Contacts

OMG, appalling SEO mistakes! Then again, they’ll get enough branded traffic to get them going.

about 6 years ago

Hayden Sutherland

Hayden Sutherland, Director at Ideal Interface

I would be most surprised if they even half-decent conversion figures for this ecommerce site. It makes the user do a lot of hard work and some functionality looks incomplete. What a wasted opportunity for such a long-awaited service.

about 6 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Before we go agency-bashing here, it's worth noting that H&M are a big fish and would take most agencies out on the cobbles and give them a trashing.

An agency can get a bad name simply by doing what the client that's paying the bills asks them to do.

As we've found, we can't always win in those situations, which pains us, but we live to fight for our own way another day.

If the client is right, then we've learned something, but I fear that isn't the case here in certain key areas.

It seems that nobody's forthcoming with an answer as to who took the lead though...

about 6 years ago

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Richard Dale

Shouldn't the H&M ecommerce director be commenting on here to open up a bit of diaogue?

I've been coming across 'Venda' which is a platform used by many a high street retailer and it seems to be spot on. I have recently used the republic.co.uk site and i've found it very good, especially because it includes a stock checker for items in my local store.

about 6 years ago

Aliya Zaidi

Aliya Zaidi, - at Mrs Aliya Zaidi

Jessica, 

Knowing what "Divided" is, is in this case irrelevant. Divided is just an off-shoot of H&M's brand, (for teens and younger customers, I think), but a person visiting H&M for the first time (or a customer not specifically looking for Divided, not knowing what it is) would not know this. In fact, the only sign that this might be for teens, is that the models look a bit younger. :-)

The category name is a bit of a mystery; it would have been far clearer to label with "teens", "young fashion", or with a specific age group, such as 14-25, for example.

about 6 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

@Richard: a platform has no bearing on how well a site is put together, or how good a site is. It's not the determining factor, per se. What is important is to understand who's going to use the site and how - which doesn't seem to have been grasped here.

about 6 years ago

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Walter

I have to laugh at how pious and important all of you sound... without actually knowing many facts at all about H&M. This version of their Shop Online website has been used for YEARS in 7 other markets. I'm certain they are aware of it's faults. And, if one does a SLIGHT bit of research before trashing this (obviously) sub-par website, one would find out that this is simply a holding spot for a new, far more advanced website that is to appear in the near future. But then again, it's far easier, and very lazy, to trash someone without doing full journalistic research.

about 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Walter I'm well aware that H&M sells online elsewhere in Europe, but that doesn't make it OK to just push out a seven year old and below par website for the UK market. A company with the budget of H&M should be aiming a lot higher than that. 

Besides, knowing a few facts about H&M is not the point of this article, it's a review of H&M's new website, not a detailed profile of H&M. The website is either good or bad, regardless of what i know or don't know about the company. 

Whether the website is the same version as the one used elsewhere in Europe doesn't alter the fact that it is woeful. If H&M wants to maximise its online sales in the UK, it needs to do a lot better than this. 

about 6 years ago

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Kirstie Colledge

Walter - Are we forgetting the *actual customer experience* here? If it's a holding site then it's not good enough. If it's a finished site, it's not good enough. If an agency was used, they should have said no and given better advice. If it was done in-house, then - try harder. The points raised here are all hugely valid and should be used as valuable feedback at H&M HQ wherever that may be (I haven't researched it). I am an H&M instore customer - have been for many years. I also like to spend money online. Only when it's easy though. The customers are not going to do their 'research' before they abandon their shopping bag....... and the new H&M online experience is an annoying disappointing one that customers won't try again.

about 6 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

@Walter: 'I'm certain they are aware of it's faults.'

You are saying then, that they built a bad site intentionally, which both doesn't make sense, and is actually worse than not understanding the mistakes they've made.

An e-commerce architecture must be planned, and all that's happened in this thread is a review of the manifestation of that plan, and an invitation to anybody that was part of the implementation to outline their reasoning.

I realise that when one is an advocate of a brand it's not enjoyable to hear that brand criticised for something it's done, but I think you have rose coloured blinkers on here. You've admitted this is substandard and has faults so I'm not sure how it makes others pious to agree with your points, especially when clear reasons are cited. 

about 6 years ago

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Genine

I was so looking forward to the launch of the H&M website as I'm a regular shopper at their store, so when I eventually found it after about 5 mins jumping from google search results then around some other H&M websites I was very disappointed. At first glance...it looks nice. rounded edges clean, and feels like it would sit nicely as an ipad app more than a website. Attempted to look for some items I saw in the store last week but couldn't find them. There was no search facility so I chose to view all the products the images are far too small. I gave up. Maybe their whole product range isn't on there? Meaningless categories. I have a few items with the label divided in them but not got a clue what it means and wouldn't choose to shop this way. I'd expect those items to also be within the relevant product category too. Looking at accessories I found another category that wasn't very apparent called 'Other etc.' The behaviour of the navigation is inconsistent across different departments and threw me a bit. I doubt H&M invested anything into testing this on any likely users where these basic mistakes would have been identified within minutes. Oh well - I'll have to keep traipsing to the store until they sort it out because I won't be visiting again in a hurry

about 6 years ago

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

It's suprising that agencies are still producing e-commerce sites without thinking in any way about SEO. As an owner of an agency which produces e-commerce sistes we'd be out of business pretty quick turning out this kind of site. Maybe it's done in-house, but even then surely they should have done a bit more research or got some external consultancy to make sure they deliver something that will meet peoples expectations for such a large brand.

about 6 years ago

Mark Pinkerton

Mark Pinkerton, Director of Optimisation at Practicology

Whilst I do not agree with @Walter's atttude there is perhaps an important point here - the commercial imperative from Swedish HQ to get a site launched this year (and before the Christmas selling peak).

I have no knowledge of H&M as an organisation but it is easy to conject that the UK market was put into an invidious position whereby it's new site cannot be launched this year now for some reason, but they needed something. This would then support an internal attittude of the stopgap online store being "better than nothing" which is probably not actually true in reality!

We all believe that, as "experts" in the field H&M is likely to damage its brand with this offering and have to work much harder to catch up once it does launch a decent site.

So, what do people believe is the best new fashion website of the last 18 months? - Selfridges / GAP / H&M / Zara / Cos (another H&M brand incidentally) have all disappointed in one way or another.

What do people believe is the best today?

about 6 years ago

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

Hi Mark,

I think Boden and Asos have got it right, well my wife seems to spend more there than anywhere else.

We've just released http://www.quba.com which we're pretty proud of

Cheers,

Steve

about 6 years ago

Chris Hoskin

Chris Hoskin, Chief Marketing Officer at Innoverne Limited

I've got to put my hand up here, and Salmon's.

Just for the record it wasn't us.

about 6 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

Start of a new thread there Mark, potentially, but on the H&M subject I find it hard to believe they'd throw up a 'holding site'!

I mean the stuff we're talking about here isn't little bugs, it's been planned this way, at some point in time, by somebody (my money is on a designer heading up this project!). We all know what it's like to build e-com sites, so I don't understand why they intentionally would have launched this with a view to replacing it after Christmas with something else that could have easily been built instead of this.

As I said on the recent Zara thread on LinkedIn, I think a brand like this is strong enough not to be too damaged by small issues with it's online channel: if they relaunch a redeveloped site soon then yes, all will quickly be forgotten. But, if they persist with this I think they could cause themselves some fairly significant and lasting harm.

about 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

There was so much else to pick out on the site that I actually missed the complete lack of any site search! 

about 6 years ago

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Matt Hollingworth, Group Site Development Manager at Mothercare PLC

They seem to have forgotten to put pound signs in front of the prices! Or is that in euros?!

about 6 years ago

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Hero Grigoraki, Client Services Director at Webgains.com

naming no names, but this review of the H&M site today made me laugh: "H&M has long been seen as late to the online shopping party in the UK – but the site unveiled today is one that at first glance seems to justify the wait. It may be late but it is not lacking in content. A variety of tools allow shoppers to view, try on and style clothes as well as simply buying them, while fashion videos and style guides also suggest ways to wear the latest trends."

This extract might explain the rushed launch of the site: "The arrival of H&M online comes soon after Zara and GAP opened their virtual retail stores to the UK. But, says retail analyst Charlotte Woods, of Verdict, H&M is likely to edge ahead of competition thanks to its recent news that it will be launching a designer collaboration with Lanvin."

Although it's unlikely they have the Lanvin range on the site, they obviously want to capitalise on the increased brand exposure online.

about 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

It must have been a very quick glance...

about 6 years ago

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Barbecue Sauce

Thank god they have a good brand name otherwise the mistakes they made would be catastrophic. Should be interesting to see if the outcry from the SEO community whips the team into shape and the fix the issues.  

about 6 years ago

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Travis B

I'm not sure about the agency who 'designed' this horrid site but the Ecommerce software company that was used is Hybris. I figured it out based on this job posting http://www.amaze24.com/ad-298557-ecommerce-software-consultant-at-hybris-chicago-il.html. Apparenty their requirements for an ecommerce consultant does not include experience with actual ecommerce, retail, seo, user experience, search, etc ;) If Hybris also had something to do with the user experience (which I suspect based on many of their other implementations and case studies) then shame on them for not thinking at all about user experience or best practices to drive good conversion. I simply cannot believe there is no search function. Considering what companies like H&M actually spends on this kind of site, I'd really expect more. It's not mobile friendly, it's too brand focused and not focused enough on product. I don't see anything thats helps connect the brand or the products to 'me' personally. What rubbish. As a former loyal H&M fan I hope they get version 2 right, or switch to a real software plaform like IBM or ATG. Heck I think they could have even done better than this with a free Magento license. ;)

about 6 years ago

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Frank

Travis before making any unfounded comments get your facts straight! This shop is still based on their old mainframe/shop infrastructure like all the other shops currently online.

totally new e-commerce shops with all the state-of-the-art features and a user experience expected from a top brand like H&M will be launched towards the end of the year!

about 6 years ago

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Henk-Jan

Dear Travis,

The hybris platform will be used in the beginning of 2011. This site is still based on the old platform.

about 6 years ago

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Andy

It's still surprising in this day and age that a brand like H&M can churn this kind of poor website out. But then there is so much in UK e-commerce that is poorly done - the Cotswold Outdoors site (https://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com) isn't much better.

Do these retailers not realise there is a recession still on? Some of these stores - and they are housegold names don't forget - could be racking up massive online sales. But their lack of focus, and letting marketing departments run websites rather than dedicated website managers with a combined marketing and technical skills, is still holding them back.

about 6 years ago

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Tamara

So many aspects of eCommerce are invisible to the consumer until they are done wrong. Building a seamless eCommerce site takes a very talented digital architect. It is certainly not something that companies should cheap out on- especially not multi-national mega retailers like H&M. The truth is, their website has never been very good- nothing compared to their brilliant clothes and awesome, free quarterly magazine. I hope they sort themselves out soon- a problem fixed quickly is no problem at all.

about 6 years ago

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Anonymous

I was really looking forward to the launch of the H&M E-commerce site - what a disappointment!

about 6 years ago

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Bas

I don't know if it's just me, but I did like the user experience in flash. And maybe i'm just not that into seo, but why do you need seo when you are already on the website? How many people look for a specific dress or shirt with a search engine? Besides that I think there are plenty of boring catalogue shops out there. So the choice for a flash site and an alternative html site is quite obvious. In this way you address two types of customers. The ones who want to be aroused and the ones who just want to get a quick overview.

about 6 years ago

Stephen Thair

Stephen Thair, Director at Seriti Consulting

@Bas "How many people look for a specific dress or shirt with a search engine?" - certainly for brand name goods, lots...

"Alexander McQueen Skull Scarf", "Mulberry Chung Handbag", "stella mccartney adidas" would all give you lots of Google results.

Also price comparison engines and aggregators (depending on their data acquisition model) might also rely on SEO-style techniques.

Just depends on your customer acquisition model I guess.

SEO is generally seem as one of the cheaper ways to acquire customers.

about 6 years ago

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dave

fight, fight, fight, fight!!!! Loving it!!!

about 6 years ago

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Big Pants

Er, Bas?  Ever heard of the iPhone?

It can't (won't) run flash.  Nor can most screen readers, but don't let a small thing like the Disability Discrimination Act, whether you show up in Google, or whether customers using increasingly fashionable methods of online shopping can see your site.

You just stick with your group, the ones that "want to be aroused"

Although it is worth mentioning that there are better places than poorly built fashion retain sites to satisfy this...

about 6 years ago

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Refschool

You can be sure that the people that did this are very well paid as usual.

Like the french france.fr government site ahtat attracted many inbound links by simply making bad buzz and shame to France. Hundreds of thousands euros are spent for something that pretty sucks.

about 6 years ago

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Anonymous

Perhaps H&M aimed for a site that most resembled their shops on a Saturday afternoon.

I'd also question the value of SEO to H&M. If I'm looking for cheap jeans I already know where to go.

Overall I did'nt hate the site - there is of course room for improvement but come on it is not so bad. What is bad => trying to flog me a pair of womens boots when I'm buying mens clothes that is truly piss poor.

about 6 years ago

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Tejal Patel

Perhaps I am cynical but I am not entirely surprised at the shocking nature of this website. I think some of us in the industry might be wearing rose-tinted glasses to think most companies have got e-commerce right. I don't think so. We have to remember there are still hundreds of traditional high street retailers or even other major brands (take Barclays for example. Appalling website!) who are still struggling to get it right online. There are a couple of major reasons for this, IMHO. First, still not enough buy-in at board level to provide sufficient investment and focus on 'new' channels. Admittedly, this is less common but still an issue. Second, I wonder if there is still the right talent in organisations to really understand what's required for a decent e-commerce site? If you don't have experienced online personnel in-house, how do you expect the agencies the company works with to get the proper direction and deliver a decent end product. Indeed, how do you even hire the right agencies/3rd party partners if you don't know what you're looking for? So there are more fundamental things here that need to be addressed otherwise the H&M site won't be the last disappointing site we come across.

about 6 years ago

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Mark Adams

Let's set the record straight. This is not based on hybris. Anybody that knows anything about platforms would immediately identify that. H&M have launched a site that clearly has severe issues in usability, SEO, getting customers to product quickly and with checkout etc. However, and mark my words, as much as some bloggers here think otherwise, this will be a commercial success for H&M between now and the point the new hybris platform goes live. They got it live in time for Christmas trading and they will make lots of sales from it. As for customers never returning to a new H&M site, please, get real. If that was the case I and the rest of the population wouldn't shop at half the places we regularly do.

It never seems to surprise me how agencies get on their high horse without any understanding of running commercial businesses and in particular retail business. I'm not defending the weaknesses of the site but please, think commercial reality. The H&M directors do and they are very wealthy for it.

about 6 years ago

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Mark Bolitho, New Business Director - Ecommerce at more2

I think that's a pretty accurate assessment Tejal. I'm very sorry to say that even with e-commerce at over 10 years old there are still such things as 'traditional' businesses that either don't understand the true value or that just move at the speed of a sloth on Night Nurse when it comes to online.

Even sadder is the fact that there are still 'traditional' agencies that purport to 'do e-commerce' that are too rooted in design and/or branding to actually put the horse in front of the cart.

Too often the latter are hired by the former, resulting in some awful manifestations that give us lots to talk about in threads like this!

about 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Mark I have been contacted by hybris, and they made it clear that this site is nothing to do with them, though the company is in talks about re-platforming the site. 

While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that a poor online experience will deter customers from repeat visits,it may well be that the popularity of H&M will make up for the poor website, and will still drive plenty of sales in the run up to Christmas.  

I wouldn't advise any other retailers to follow H&M's example though. 

I also don't understand how a company with the budget of H&M and the time it has had to work on this launch could not have produced a better site, rather than rushing out a years-old and below par version in time for Christmas. 

about 6 years ago

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waggit

There are so many things that are wrong with this site. I don't understand why companies don't use the same principles as their physical stores and make it easy for their customers to buy products. Surely that should be the main aim and goal? For everyone who wanted to know who designed the H&M site, I have just read an article in this weeks Design Week magazine (page 9) and the site was created in house. I think that says a lot for using a professional agency that specialises in e-commerce

about 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Mark - Fair points but I struggle to understand how a brand worth billions - and which employs 70,000+ people - failed to launch a decent website in 2010. 

Yes, it will generate a bunch of sales through the Christmas period, but the commercial reality is that ASOS and others are going to eat H&M's lunch online, unless it fixes up the problem areas. Brand is never enough. 

about 6 years ago

Doug Kessler

Doug Kessler, Director at VelocitySmall Business Multi-user

Given how unbelievably dreadful H&M's customer service is in the shops it's no surprise that their website is so crap. Has anyone actually met a helpful member of staff in their shops?

about 6 years ago

Stephen Thair

Stephen Thair, Director at Seriti Consulting

@Chris - the depressing thing is that, if you read many of the other E-consultancy site reviews, is that how many of the High Street Brands DO get it wrong (and in some cases very wrong).

I think that your right in identifying "brand" as being at the heart of the problem.

There seems to be an attitude at many large retailers that brand is the "be all and end all" and "our customers" will love our site (regardless of usability, page size, download speed, use of Flash etc) because Brand obliterates usability and user experience, performance, the Disability Discrimination Act etc.

There is more concern given to whether it "looks nice" than whether it converts visitors into customers because the website is more about the "brand experience" than actually "selling stuff online" which is what the pure-play start-ups (e.g. ASOS) focus on... and hence why they "eat their lunch online".

about 6 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Stephen I think you've summed it up very well there. There have been a few launches and relaunches in the last month, including Zara, Gap and H&M, and they all have a few issues here and there.

The best has probably been River Island, as they seem to have focused more on usability than the rest. Must have learned from all the criticism of the Flash site. 

about 6 years ago

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Justin

I'm just a regular shopper, with a (currently) full "Shopping Bag" at the H&M UK Online store. I found this article and discussion while Googling for Discount Codes...

I think (as a punter and not a web-design expert) these are the main problems:

01)  Stock availability isn't apparent until you add items to your "Shopping Bag". I bought a sweater, boots and jeans to wear together. All three items are destined to arrive over three separate months!

02) There's no option to choose your gender when registering your personal details. I'd assumed that it'd pick-up on my being male when I chose my title as "Mr." - but no such luck. Recommendations (and the whole site) seem skewed towards females.

03) No free delivery on first order. Most online stores offer similar freebies when you first register as a customer.

04) Lack of categorisation. I wanted skinny jeans; dark blue skinny jeans. Clicking on "Jeans" brings-up every style in their current range; boot-cut, loose-fit, straight-leg... I only found the style I was after ("Drain") by accident. Strangely, colour options for the same style aren't available in a drop-down box, like the sizings are. The dark-blue, black and grey skinny jeans are seemingly categorised as separate items.

I do actually like the fact that when you click on an item, it displays a whole look in a pop-up, showing other items which look good together.

I'd give the website 5/10.

Right... I'm off to search for some Discount Codes again now.

about 6 years ago

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Mike

I laugh at all you haters who think their own website is so great with all your crappy ads on them and affiliate links. H&M is relying on the power of their brand. Google is working to make their Search Engine better every day and you can be certain that if someone is looking to find H&M, they will find H&M. All of you snake-oil salesman who want to make a quick buck with your tricks and crappy websites, please stand aside and let true artists and designers on board. We don't tell you how to make your static boring webpages full of text-ridden documents and boring shit, let the entertainment and fashion industries continue to make engaging and dynamic ways to interact. Please don't be stuck to think there is only one single way to make a webpage and that you are all experts. Don't give google and snake oil salesmen so much power and think for yourself.

almost 6 years ago

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Anonymous

Snake oil is, apparently, very high in Omega 3 Mike, and very good for brain function.

Perhaps you should take some...

almost 6 years ago

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Daniel Hayter

Does anyone know how they manage to propose payment after delivery as an option? Surely this must create loads of problems for them?

almost 6 years ago

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Bobbi

Hi all !

I am a regular internet shopper and was delighted when one of my favourite brands had started an online store. I was soon to feel disappointed ..... Many items are sold out as soon as they come onto the store and when you do manage to select and buy there is no way of tracking your parcels. I ordered 10 days ago and I am still waiting. I spoke to customer services who told me they have DHL delivery and have not got the type of account with them that allows anyone to track after it goes from their warehouse.

I certainly won't order online again as the item is for my Birthday and I need guaranteed delivery in the same month that I ordered the item!  Why have they got it so wrong?

almost 6 years ago

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joanna

If you think the layout is poor wait till you actually attempt to ORDER from this god awful site!!! I've been waiting over a week for a top I ordered for which the postage cost me almost as much! I'm eagerly awaiting an explination from customer services while attempting to log into my account with a customer number they emailed me with my order except that it appears to be invalid! The login repeattedly informs me 'wrong customer number' so It's impossible to tell when my item will arrive if at ALL!! Also did you read their policy on undeliverable items?! If their courier fails to deliver multiple times then you incur a charge of £9.90 to 'cover the costs'. It's pretty hard to be in for a delivery for which you've never been given an estimated delivery time for. Could arrive next month while im on holiday for all I know!! Certainly the worst online store I've had the displeasure of dealing with this year.

almost 6 years ago

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Clee

I love H&M but their online store is truly awful!

Ordered a couple of items with an estimated delivery of 10-14 Jan, get a text this morning saying that my order is due to be delivered in the next 24-48 hours and needs a signature!  This I was not informed of at the time of ordering - I work full time so no chance of being home!  and even if I was, do they expect me to stay confined to my flat for 48 hours waiting for them to turn up?!

I rung customer services who suggested perhaps a neighbour could sign, but rather oddly, they all work full time too! or else confine them to their or my flat for 48 hours.  I was informed the courier will try to deliver 3 times, after which the package will be returned to H&M, then I will have to ring and cancel the order and get a refund - no doubt I won't be refunded the delivery costs -  really not much point in re-arranging delivery :/    Why they refuse point blank to deliver to work addresses is beyond me...

As to the £9.90 charge for delivery fails, I expressed my disgust at this and was advised that I would not be charged - will wait and see!

Know this is going off the original issue of the website itself but really the quality of the website and ease of ordering is a rather moot point when getting hold of you order is nigh on impossible!

Urgh, truly terrible.

over 5 years ago

Stephen Thair

Stephen Thair, Director at Seriti Consulting

It's interesting to see the number of comments talking about fulfillment (delivery, returns etc).

It's often an area that's overlooked by the "e-commerce team" as that's the "bricks and mortar" stuff that "the rest of the business takes care of".

For those that are interested "Back in the real world (Fulfillment)" is one of the sections in our "55 Killer Questions before you launch your website" whichgives you a useful checklist of questions to ask prior to your next site launch.

You can download over here - http://www.siteconfidence.com/pdf/55killerquestions.pdf (free, no rego, email me with feedback if you find it useful!)

cheers,

Steve

over 5 years ago

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Annonym

I have been extremely disappointed with H&M online. Out of the 7 orders I have placed, they have 'LOST' 4. They say this is due to the delivery company... however I believe that percentage to be ridiculously high, and that many mistakes would not be made by a trusted delivery company. Someone is not doing their job at H&M.

Delivery, which we are charged £3.90 for the pleasure of, even if you spend £300 (seems a little greedy) has no delivery date, and in my experience will arrive at any random time within a month after your order has been placed.

Also, have you noticed that there aren't any products that are fully in stock? Everything I clicked on yesterday was either completely out of stock, or only available in a single size in a colour I did not want.

I'm hoping these are teething problems and will be ironed out... although from talking to the customer service reps on the phone, who upon telling me "It's very rare, but it happens.." in trying to explain my 4th lost package, I have feeling H&M are going to be losing a lot of previously faithful customers.

over 5 years ago

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laura

Placed my order a week ago and kept expecting to enter an alternative delivery address whilst checking out, as is the norm nowadays... no option given though and before i knew it i'd purchased them. Called customer services to advise that I wouldn't be in before 6 on a weekday but they said they couldn't make a note of this anywhere and that after one or two failed attempts i've have to hope the courier left his mobile number and try and liaise with him. The hermes site hasn't been updated with any progress on the order but from the sounds of people's comments it's because they haven't received it and probably not that they don't bother updating it. Looking forward to getting hit for £9.90 with failed delivery charges, i ordered 6 items which are spread over 2 deliveries so will have to go through all this again soon (presuming they don't lose the stock)...
I've been told by my boyfriend that as i brought on a credit card i can claim back any charges under the distance selling act as goods weren't received.... I'd urge people to give this a go and maybe h&m will pull their finger out... Until then I'll be sticking to shopping in-store, which is like a jumble sale so I won't be shopping at h&m at all until they improve things.

about 5 years ago

Mark Pinkerton

Mark Pinkerton, Director of Optimisation at Practicology

And to add to these woes the new COS ecommerce site went live today and appears to have crashed!!

Why would you send out an email to everyone until you've soft launched it?

almost 5 years ago

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Laura Davies

Have to agrree with pervious comments; this website could be far better. It's such a shame for such a big brand and big name in fashion to have such a disappointing website!

almost 5 years ago

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Giron

Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I'm impressed! Very helpful information specially the last part :) I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

about 4 years ago

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