Learning online lessons from retail giant, H&M
It’s not all that uncommon for a shopper to cruise past an intriguing storefront and think, “I’m going to check them out online when I get home.” In fact, those same consumers might just pull out their smartphone right then and there to bookmark the website. But what happens when they’re a block or two away – or at home later that evening – only to discover that the store doesn’t offer online shopping?
As you can imagine, there are several scenarios that could ensue. A diligent shopper might make a point of returning to the brick-and-mortar location the very next day whereas a less aggressive shopper might just put that visit on the backburner with indefinite plans to return. More than likely, however, that window shopper might just do a quick Google search instead to find a competitor who sells a comparable type of merchandise online.
Believe it or not, H&M is among the ever-shrinking group of retailers that rely on foot traffic – in the United States, that is. Currently, the clothing merchandiser allows its customers in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the United Kingdom to enjoy the convenience of shopping online. Despite H&M’s size, its hesitance seems to have something to do with the complexities of the U.S. market.
“Taxes vary by state, shoppers expect free shipping, and returns are common,” explain the editors of a recent Bloomberg article. “The longer H&M waits, though, the more demanding customers become. Now most shoppers expect retailers to have smartphone apps available, too. H&M says it will.”
But H&M has made similar promises in the past. More than two years ago, the retail giant published a tweet saying that its online site was coming soon. For anyone holding their breath for that fateful launch, one can only assume that their faces quickly turned from blue to red with anger. And that’s because the only thing worse than not offering online shopping is making empty promises to do so.
“H&M, which has 269 stores in the U.S., has said at various times over the years that it wants to enter the market smoothly, without any of the problems that shoppers have sometimes encountered on other sites,” Bloomberg reports. “And that it needs more time to fix issues with security, customer service, logistics, and the assortment of items offered. But how hard can it be?”
If you’re a retailer as big as H&M, there’s really no room for excuses. Regardless of size, however, there are companies like NetSphere Strategies that can help brick-and-mortar shops enter the online world with ease. The difficulty merely lies in choosing which one is right for you.
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