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In my experience, H&M has successfully planned its segmentation and marketing strategy, especially for the young consumer segment. However, there are numerous recommendations H&M can use in the future to segment and market its products. First off, H&M should embrace social media and internet marketing to reach more customers. Notably, there has been a rise of multichannel and Omni-channel shoppers. Therefore, through removing the barriers between different channels, say for example a physical and an online store, is likely to create success for future businesses (Konuş, Neslin, and Verhoef, 2014) as illustrated in the figure below. There is also the rise of personalisation where customers want a product to be tailor-made according to their preferences and price, which has given rise to the “me-centric shoppers.” Furthermore, use of data acquired from the customers is also a new direction that most famous brands are taking. Tracking of customer data enables companies to understand the preferences, behaviors, and history and personalize products and services using the information. This has ordinarily led to the increase in data mining as part of marketing strategies for established companies that seek to enhance customer relationship management. These are some of the considerations that H&M should strategically plan to embrace.
Consumer preference for multichannel marketing
According to Pantano & Viassone (2015), most of the contemporary consumers prefer multiple channels when undergoing then decision to purchase a product. The consumers can use one channel to research about the product and another to purchase after a careful comparison (Konuş, Neslinand, and Verhoef, 2014). Also, the UK is increasing in the number of online shoppers as shown in the figure below. The use of e-commerce platforms in the UK has increased significantly.
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Increased use of internet in the UK
Approximately 87% of the UK customers have made a purchase online (Gurufocus.com, 2017). The UK is second only to Norway in e-commerce purchases in Europe. It is predicted that by the end of 2017 online sales would have increased to 30% compared to 21.3% in 2016 (Gurufocus.com, 2017). The fashion industry is the second largest sector that utilizes online shopping and accounts for one-third of the purchases in the UK. Another channel being used by customers is mobile apps which surmount the purchases made retail shops. (Gurufocus.com, 2017) Through the apps, the customers download content, make purchases, and pay through different features. Therefore, H&M should invest in multichannel marketing and develop applications that enable the consumers to have access to the products. The multichannel strategy will see the online platforms being substituted by physical stores (Gurufocus.com, 2017).
H&M should also invest widely in social media. Considering its target market of women between 15-30 years, also known as Millennials or Generation Y, it should have a solid representation in the social media. The social media is a good marketing strategy and can inform word of mouth marketing. Most of the influencers are found in the social media and influence the decisions of the customers to make purchases (Park, 2017). Within the virtual communities formed online most of the companies in the fashion industry can leverage on their social media presence to drive up their sales (Park, 2017). The social media helps fashion brands to build their reputation and brand value, which make them popular among other brands in the market (Kontu, 2015).
Another recommendation for H&M should invest in marketing information systems. According to Salvador and Ikeda (2014), understanding consumer insights help in planning marketing actions including segmentation and strategies. It helps in obtaining relevant information about the decision-making processes of the customers (Salvador and Ikeda, 2014). Through reports from big data obtained from the marketing information systems, companies can focus their communication, price, product development, distribution channels packaging, and advertisements to a target group with precision and efficiency (Salvador and Ikeda, 2014; Amado et al., 2017). The big data acquired through the marketing information systems can be used in formulating social media marketing campaigns to attract more customers by H&M.
H&M should also be aware that consumers are more aware of brands than ever. Like my experience, most of the customers prefer brands that encourage environmental sustainability (Li and Cai, 2009). Therefore, it should consider embracing sustainable or green marketing concept. Most of the contemporary customers are largely aware of the ecological impacts of companies on the environment (Líšková et al., 2016). Brands such as H&M attract customers that are responsible and need to be informed about the environmental practices of the brand. Most of the consumers of fashion need to understand the logistics of the companies, the production process, and the impact of the products on the environment (Líšková et al., 2016). Most of the companies are now considering active communication to the public through environmental friendly attributes. Another avenue is branding using green-themed attributes that extends to eco-labeling of the products (Líšková et al., 2016). Therefore, H&M should meet the consumer’s green consciousness through engaging in green campaigns to emancipate the consumers on their alignment with sustainability.
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- Gurufocus.com (2017). UK Online Shopping and E-Commerce Statistics for 2017 – GuruFocus.com. [Online] Gurufocus.com. Available at: <https://www.gurufocus.com/news/492058/uk-online-shopping-and-ecommerce-statistics-for-2017> [Accessed 26 Nov. 2017].
- Kontu, H. (2015). BUILDING FASHION BRANDS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA. Global Fashion Management Conference, 3(3), pp.342-347.
- Konuş, U., Neslin, S. and Verhoef, P. (2014). The effect of search channel elimination on purchase incidence, order size and channel choice. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 31(1), pp.49-64.
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- Pantano, E. and Viassone, M. (2015). Engaging consumers on new integrated multichannel retail settings: Challenges for retailers. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 25, pp.106-114.
- Park, H. (2017). How Social Media is transforming the Fashion Consumers: The Effects of “Social” Consumer Attributes on Brand Engagement in Social Networking Sites. Fashion, Industry, and Education, 15(1), pp.1-11.
- Salvador, A., and Ikeda, A. (2014). Big Data Usage in the Marketing Information System. Journal of Data Analysis and Information Processing, 02(03), pp.77-85.