The week “Balmainia” broke the (H&M) internet

Daisy Onida

09 Nov 2015

The highly coveted and anticipated collaborated collection between Balmain and H&M launched late last week, causing pandemonium from excited shoppers across the globe. With “Balmainia” trending on social media and frenzied shoppers camped outside stores the night before – with 500 outside London’s Regent Street store alone – it was clear to see that shoppers were more than keen to get their hands on this sought after collection.

Apocalyptic scenes (see video below) from inside stores have gone viral, highlighting the chaos that H&M underwent on 5th November. In response, H&M limited customers to one item each and an allotted time period in-store. It was a different story online. Excessive volumes of traffic caused H&M’s website to experience technical difficulties and crash temporarily, blocking shoppers from the site for several hours.

Considering the collection was in such high demand even before the launch, encouraged by its Balmain x H&M video going viral, and the fact the event would have been visible months in advance as a key moment in the brand’s marketing strategy, H&M ought to have predicted the this outcome. When peak trading times are on the horizon, planning these situations is imperative.

Consumers today have increasingly high expectations from retailers when it comes to the level of service they provide. Anticipating high volumes of traffic and having a plan in place for ensuring smooth operations during these time periods is essential and the same can be said for Black Friday, which is predicted to be the UK’s first £1bn online shopping day.

With Black Friday just around the corner, retailers can learn from this situation, being  as prepared as possible to cope with consumer demand, both in-store and online. Those that do will be able to deliver an excellent customer experience and maximise sales, triumphing during these peak times.

Image credit: H&M Press Office