We’re not sure why H&M was being so secretive about the exact launch date of U.S. e-commerce, but it turns out it was August 1. Yes, that’s today! Around midnight last night, H&M USA tweeted that its U.S. online store was officially open for business.
According to a release, the shop will offer the same items available in-store, as well as additional sizes and some exclusive online-only items.
And while today’s launch may have been relatively quiet, the Swedish retail chain unsurprisingly has a few tricks up its sleeve to celebrate and promote it in the coming weeks.
For one, it’s holding a “50 States of Fashion” contest, where bloggers Instagram themselves in HM.com purchases and tag it #HMShopOnlineXX (the XX being the abbreviation of their state). These submissions will then populate on a 50 States of Fashion microsite where visitors to the site will “like” their favorite looks. After a two week submission period the semi-finalists will be determined by the most “liked” photos from each state and a panel of judges will then pick a grand prize winner to receive a $1,000 H&M shopping spree and trip to New York to attend an H&M event during New York Fashion Week.
In addition to that event, which will probably be an extravaganza as H&M events are wont to be, it’s launching a pop-up shop in the meatpacking district August 22 which will feature the Paris Show Collection (which will also be available online), a Try-On Lab, and a virtual check-out system where customers can make purchases via iPads.
All we can think is: finally.
Update: We chatted with H&M spokesperson Marybeth Schmitt to learn more about the new launch and here’s what we learned:
• They delayed the launch of e-commerce because they were focused on opening more stores: “Our focus over the past 13 years has been on opening close to 300 stores across the country,” she explained. “We have always made it our goal to grow at a steady pace in order to ensure high quality and a positive shopping experience for our customers. We are excited to now offer our US fans another way to shop with the launch of e-commerce.”
• The Isabel Marant collection will be available online, as will future collaborations.
• H&M’s home collection is also now available to shop online,
• You can also shop through H&M’s mobile app.