24 November 2010 | Team Tamar

H&M Online Fail

If you have even the faintest interest in fashion, you will have known that the French uber designer line Lanvin teamed up with high street retailer H&M on a more affordable collection for the less moneyed set and that yesterday was the day frugal fashionistas across the UK could get their hands on the critically acclaimed H&M/Lanvin clothes, shoes and accessories.

For the last few months, blogs stamped with the fashion set’s badge of approval and industry influencers on Twitter fanned the flames of lust for anything and everything H&M/Lanvin with thousands of posts about which items they were going to buy from the collection.

However, as digital professionals, I was surprised at how little trust my colleague Liz Morray and I had in the H&M eCommerce site as a means to successfully acquire our desired loot. We, as many other women across the world yesterday, were prepared to wake up at the crack of dawn and queue for an ungodly number of hours to get what we wanted. Basically, we both felt shopping online for H&M/Lanvin was high risk…a gamble. From technical meltdowns to overcapacity issues…it just seemed that more could go wrong online. The early bird will catch the worm in real life, but in cyberspace you need lady luck on your side to score a win, right? Perhaps we’ve all been burned one too many times by Ticketmaster, eBay, who have denied us one too many times to ‘exclusive’ goods and events?

Yesterday morning we tested out our hunch and weren’t too surprised by our findings.

Liz and I successfully convinced our fashionable CEO, Tanya Goodin to help us out by supporting the online buying component of the test (up and ready to buy on the H&M/Lanvin online store when it opened at 7 am!), while we braved the early morning and queued at a brick and mortar store starting at 6.30 am.

H&M went out of their way to make the ‘real life’ experience pleasant. It was organized and efficient. No more than 30 people were allowed into the Lanvin shopping area — they split the line into groups and gave each group a different colour bracelet. They even gave us ‘goody bags’ as a thank you.

It’s too bad that H&M failed to provide the same positive journey online.

Tanya successfully accessed the online store when it opened at 7:00 am:

…but surprisingly when she attempted to buy a shirt 7:01, she was served up a holding page that stated,


“We’re really popular, right now everyone wants to visit us and the shop is crowded, don’t miss out, please try again later”

How could the site have sold out of the shirt in one minute?!

She hit “try again” repeatedly about 10 times. No success. She switched to ‘buy’ another item. Same thing happened.

Frustration set in at 7:20 when a survey request popped up instead of a help message!


Needless to say, the online mission was a failure and Tanya threw her hat in at 40 past the hour.

It wasn’t a complete loss for Tanya, though, as we were able to pick up the shirt she had her eye on during our successful ‘in-store’ shop!


H&M launched their eCommerce site in the UK to poor reviews this past autumn. If they put the same level of thought into the digital experience as they did the ‘in store’ experience they could have changed some of the negatives directed their way into positives. An ‘early bird’ access code could have been sent to Facebook fans or any number of other promotions. Also, the Lanvin collection probably brought a lot of new users to the H&M eCommerce site for the first time. I wonder…how many people will opt NOT to return because of their poor, frustrating experience on the site trying to shop the Lanvin collection? Look forward to seeing if H&M will sort things out for their next designer collaboration. For those of you who care, rumour is a partnership with Bottega Veneta is in the works…


Team Tamar

  • http://russianslondon.co.uk Tatiana_London

    I am also fascinated on how on earth they did not anticipate it.

    Not only it is not their first collaboration with designers, so they know the offline volume, they have not learned from others mistakes ie TopShop. When they first launched their site was as depressing of an experience as the H&M shop especially on their collaboration launches too.

    I am still waiting for further failure from H&M online store as TopShop made that mistake, where system allowed to purchase more then there was quantity available. So users can start receiving emails stating they actually did not get the item even if they managed to buy it online.

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