Having been one of the last big brands to begin selling online in the UK, H&M's e-commerce launch last year was a major disappointment

Among the problems were a lack of attention to SEO, too much Flash, and generally poor usability. 

Yesterday I had an email from H&M telling me that it has launched a new website. In the interests of fairness, I've been seeing what improvements have been made...


While last time, you had to find the link to the online store from the homepage, before being sent to shop.hm.com, now it is all integrated into the main page. 

However, when I clicked the link from the email, I still had to select my region first, which is annoying: 


As with the old version, there's no site search at all. This is an odd move, since it denies shoppers an alternative navigation option, one which shows purchase intent, while H&M is also missing out on useful data that can be gathered from people's search habits. There are plenty more reasons why retailers should have site search

If you click on one of the main categories from the homepage (men, woman etc), then the category pages are confusing. Where shoppers would normally expect to see more links to sub-categories, product suggestions etc, they get this: 

Clicking on this image brings up a Flash page so, while H&M has thankfully lost the all-Flash version of the site, it can't totally kick its addiction. 

There are some useful navigational features that weren't present on the old site though, such as these drop-down menus, which make it easier for customers to jump straight to the product types they want: 

Though there are some filtering options, which were completely absent from the previous site, they could be improved. The categories, colour and size filters are fine, but 'concepts' and 'selections' are confusing categories. 

In addition, product metadata needs some work, as the results from using these filters weren't always reliable. This is the result of my search for a black shirt: 

Product pages

The product pages are much improved, with a better range of product images and a usable zoom tool. Cross-selling suggestions are sensible, though the pages are lacking detail elsewhere. 

There are also some useful product selection tools, such as this dressing room feature, which enables you to put together different outfits from the site: 

Checkout process

You have to wait until entering the checkout process before H&M will confirm the total price and delivery costs, which can be annoying for shoppers. 

You also have to register before checkout, though at least H&M has lost the cross-selling pop up lightbox which used to appear between basket and checkout. 

Registration aside, the checkout is reasonably well laid out and clear to navigate, The concertina style means it's possible to go back and forth and adjust details, though the way it insists on me entering my date of birth is unnecessary. 

The checkout isn't enclosed either, with menu options remaining in place, though the payment stage is totally isolated: 

As on the previous version of the H&M website, the delivery options are not really up to scratch. Aside from the fact that you have to wait until checkout for the information, the timescales are very poor compared to most online retailers, and this information is only visible is you click to find out more:

When other retailers can offer next day delivery, or at least guarantee delivery within a couple of days, 'You will receive your items around one week after we have received your order, but during busy periods it may take longer' is not really good enough. Would anyone buy an item from the site is the run up to Christmas with this sort of delivery promise? It's unlikely. 


While the decision to ditch the old all Flash version is to be welcomed, there are still plenty of Flash elements that simply will not work on mobiles an iPads, such as the men's product category page, and the dressing room feature. 

There are a number of issues that could deter shoppers as well; the lack of site search, poor filtering options, registration before checkout, and the vague delivery timescales. 

The new H&M website is definitely better than the previous incarnation, but there are still a number of things that could be improved to make the most of the H&M brand online. 

Graham Charlton

Published 15 April, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (20)

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I think h&m have great variety in its product offering throughout their retail outlets and the shopping expierience in regards to store layout and customer service is good. Unfortunately this is not mirrored online, if I was to describe h&m online as if it was a physical store I would say it is an awkward (navigation), dull (layout), scattered (no ease) store with staffing issues (checkout issues).

over 7 years ago


Alexandra English

I agree, it is an improvement, but there are still some huge flaws.

Just having a look through at the Dressing Room function, which is a very good tool, my main issue is the lack of size diversity. H&M have included racial diversity, but all the models are tall and slim - making this tool not as helpful if you're 5'2" and a size 16.

You can change the background (why? Just in case you know you'll be in a mainly grey room and don't want to clash?!?) but it doesn't add to the experience.

Also, when you do add anything from the dressing room to your shopping bag, you're taken back to the first page - pretty annoying with 115 pages, when you didn't make a mental note of where you got to.

Overall though, I think the site is good enough and the products are desirable enough for the user to take the pain of these slight annoyances. After all - isn't that why certain sites (Ryanair springs to mind!) still do well, despite poor usability and design? People are willing to take the pain for a desired product / price.

over 7 years ago

Eoin Kenneally

Eoin Kenneally, Ecommerce Consultant at Consultant

God its awful...

Select your region - no ip recognition then?
The UK isn't even on the top, they could use a bit of eye tracking on how much a pain in the arse looking for your country can be... WHy not an interactive map instead..

I know the fold is not really important but too much to select from in each category is going to put people off. no more than 6 choices or it gets too busy.

No search functionality, just shows a lack of user experience testing. What fashion site doesn't have search, this is H&M not Armani and even they have site search.

The best bit is the dressing room which has excellent functionality and adds a lot to the brand. I would say that a variation of models would have been better

Overall, a poor effort and they will lose out to better sites good case study of what not to do.

over 7 years ago


Grant McAllister

It's terrible.

Worst thing is when you go to leave the site a pop-up appears saying are you sure!

This is were people all had ideas to make a cool and hip site and the web designer has been micromanaged into doing it.

over 7 years ago


Mark Tiernan

Incredible - but do they really care about the SEO?

over 7 years ago

Matteo Balzani

Matteo Balzani, Marketing Director, BuyVIP at Amazon

Agree on the flaws, but the dressing room tool is an absolute winner!

over 7 years ago


Craig Elwell

I think the site is a truly awful execution.
Creatively its great, but let down by design for design's sake which gets in the way of giving the customer a pain free shopping experience.

To be fair I thought the reviewer was quite kind!

over 7 years ago


Jessica Rose

Perfect example of style over substance. Why not invest the money they have spent overhauling the aesthetics into delivery options, or the ability to enter a separate shipping address to billing address?

Great example of not looking at your website experience holistically, and ignoring your customer.

over 7 years ago


Form - Digital Jobs

Having read the article, I thought I would have a look through the H&M website myself. I decided to check out the Fashion Against AIDS collection. Apparently "something went wrong" with an error code of 2124 - not exactly user friendly error handling! Perhaps they need some additional staff to review this sort of thing for them?

over 7 years ago



Dressing room tool is a good concept though there is minimal benefit for the user in being able to change model skin colour / background colour. It would be much more useful to have net-a-porter / ASOS style video clips of the model actually wearing and moving around in the dress.
I also don't seem to find a way to navigate back to the item, away from the 'dressing room', other than the browser back button.

However, H&M is an established brand and these small inconvenient usability issues wouldn't be enough for me to not want to use the site - would perhaps just take some getting used to.

Some good ideas but still feels awkward to use - should embrace the tried and tested features like a site search.

over 7 years ago

Ally Manock

Ally Manock, Head of Digital Strategy, Planning & Insight at Brass Agency

It's still not the greatest ecommerce experience by a long long way...but they have improved. Apart from all the obvious usability flaws, my main criticism as a female shopper was that the clothes looked awful. The website made them feel very catelogue.

The new site has def. improved this...so much so that when I logged on to see what all the excitement was about, I found myself buying a dress!

Damn you econsultancy....that was your fault....

over 7 years ago


Dave Jenkins

Re: Worst thing is when you go to leave the site a pop-up appears saying are you sure!

Yes, I totally agree. I dislike websites that do this. However, it is n improvement from the earlier version.

over 7 years ago

Steve Harvey-Franklin

Steve Harvey-Franklin, Director at Attercopia

There are some very very good points on usability and SEO.

My teenage and early 20's kids spent all night on the site using the dressing room feature.

So.. possibly a hit with part of their target audience

So may be if they iron out the bad stuff they'll have a hit until everyone else has a virtual dressing room!

over 7 years ago



does anyone know what format this date of birth should have??? i tried everything!

about 7 years ago



im having the same problem as "Ahi", can anyone help?

about 7 years ago



i'm having the d.o.b. problem too, seems to be a recent problem....

about 7 years ago



Does anyone knows which company or 3rd party company have design H&M Dressing room tool?

almost 7 years ago



Omg!!!!! What a terrible terrible on line store!!!!!!!!! Only wanted to order a denim jacket nice and simple and what a palava!!!! Don't ever use soooooooo slow on everything and have to repeat all information, anyway after about half an hour trying to put my order in I finally got to the checkout and had to pay £3.90 for postage fair enough for then to be told I have to wait a month and half for my order!!!!! Crazy!!! Will never try to shop on line with h& m again very very disappointed

over 6 years ago



how do i enter my address when trying to order something- dont know where to click!-HELP

over 6 years ago



The fact that you have to WRITE to them to change your delivery address from your registered one says it all about how much H&M care about user experience. Horrendous.

almost 6 years ago

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