We’re sure you’ve heard by now that Swedish fast-fashion behemoth H&M finally launched its long-awaited e-commerce site yesterday following what felt like an endless stream of start-and-stop rumors.
Naturally, since online shopping is an area in which we’re proudly adept, we immediately took to HM.com to see whether we’ll be bookmarking the site—or whether we’ll stick to shopping in the store’s several brick-and-mortar locations.
Read on for our general assessment!
Ease of use:
Overall, the site’s not difficult to navigate but it’s not terribly sleek. For real-deal shoppers, it probably won’t be a problem, but if you’re looking for a simple, beautiful interface, this isn’t it.
You’re first asked to select if you’re shopping for women, men, kids, or home (yes, the site features a home decor section—the U.S. stores don’t) before you’re directed to categories (shirts, shoes, skirts, etc.) From there, the selections are showcased in a grid format and feature on-model and still life shots.
You know that feeling when you walk into an H&M and see eye-catching things that look high-end, on-trend, and cost a little more than the average H&M piece? That’s the retailer’s “Trend” line, identifiable by a super-pale pink tag. From the looks of it, the line isn’t on the web, which seems a bit counter-intuitive considering it’s only available in-store in big cities. Wouldn’t they want everyone to have access to it?
The women’s selection is fairly limited and appears to be mostly basics, with a few trendy items thrown in the mix. We assume the site wants to compete with Zara—which is killing it in every way, shape, and form when it comes to e-commerce—so it’s surprising that the “better” stuff isn’t available online. H&M will sell its buzzy collaboration with cool-girl French designer Isabel Marant online in November, so perhaps the Trend line will follow? We’re hoping it does!
The prices of items available, of course, are excellent, with things like slouchy boyfriend jeans clocking in at $39.95, and a chic slim tortoiseshell pouch at $24.95
One annoying flaw: Select photography. For example, a particularly great pair of black real-leather boots that we’d definitely consider buying for $70 are only shot from above, so the viewer can’t see the side, the sole, the heel, or the back. We’re a bit unsure who would shell out $70 without seeing the whole shoe, especially since the boot is an online exclusive.
So far, all sizes seem to be stocked, with the exception of a few select pairs of shoes which appear to have sold out, and a few items will surface a “not yet available” tag when you click on them.
Shipping and Returns:
Here’s the head-scratcher: Shipping isn’t free, nor are returns—they’re both $5.95. And you can’t return online purchase in-store.
These points could be considered unwise because peripheral competitors like ASOS and Zara —whose entire e-commerce experience is technically and visually a pleasure—offer free standard shipping and returns. Even Uniqlo, which launched online shopping last fall, offers free shipping on orders over $100. In addition, Uniqlo and Zara both allow in-store returns on online purchases.
The bottom line:
As it stands, highly fashion-conscious, city-dwelling women probably won’t use HM.com as much as they shop in the store. This will probably change in November, when the Isabel Marant line launches (everyone’s wondering if it’ll crash the site like Missoni did for Target), and if H&M adds the “Trend” line to the offerings. That said, there’s no denying that the site is a very welcome addition to the e-commerce landscape, and one that we’ll be checking often as new items roll in.