H&M beautifully integrates social media with in-store marketing

H&M Fan Favorite Tag In StoreWhile I don’t shop at H&M myself, I recognize that it’s a popular brand and one that my teen children particularly enjoy checking out as the clothes are fashionable and not crazy expensive as so many stores in the mall tend to be nowadays.

The company’s considerably larger than you think, with over 3000 stores in 53 different markets and an employee pool of over 104,000 people. It’s formally known as Hennes & Mauritz AB and was founded in Sweden in 1947. In 2012, global sales amounted to a rather staggering 21.755 billion USD. Yes, they’re that big a company.

Generally really large companies have a hard time being nimble and savvy with social media, or they outsource the task and end up with something expensive but lackluster. H&M hasn’t fallen into that, as was amply demonstrated the last time I was in the store and saw the tags they’d hung on certain merchandise, as shown.

I think it’s brilliant.

The core challenge for any brick & mortar business is to figure out how to integrate online and off, and mostly that looks like “price matching” or “in-store pickup”. Nice and useful, but it’s very one way: online -> real world, while social media is purely for marketing and its presence in a typical store extends to a banal, easily ignored “Like us on Facebook!” placard by the register.

H&M is going in the other direction, though, taking the customer feedback from its online presence and having that show up in the stores themselves, a sort of “customer popularity contest”.

Bby comparison, how’s your company doing taking the signals you identify through your social presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc, and having them change the way you package and market your products at retail outlets or through channels?

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