Hennes & Mauritz, better known as H&M, unveiled their much-anticipated (and much hyped) online shopping platform in the US on Thusday. The launch had suffered a series of delays since the company announced plans to offer e-commerce to American shoppers in 2011.
H&M’s fast fashion competitors — notably Forever21 and Zara — have already established themselves in American e-tail. H&M has offered online shopping to its European market for years, but has been repeatedly stalled in its efforts to launch a US platform. Apparently, the company underestimated the security and payment logistics necessary for a “seamless” launch, which led to at least two failed attempts.
“We couldn’t just copy and paste the online shops that we operate in Europe,” Chief Executive Karl-Johan Perrson told press. “Our volumes are so large.”
The US is H&M’s second biggest market, behind only Germany. In fiscal 2013, H&M opened thirty-nine new stores in the US, and US sales grew 30 percent, contributing a total of $1.9 billion — or 9 percent of H&M’s total sales.
According to Mr. Perrson, H&M plans to launch online platforms in several other countries in 2014, as the company looks to invest outside of economically depressed Europe. H&M plans to open some 350 stores in 2013, primarily in the US and China.