Let’s be clear. Aside from the standard “Made in” tag, how much do you really know about the clothes you wear? After a slew of worker treatment-related troubles, H&M wants to change this and tidy up its image. The retailer just announced that starting next week, shoppers will be able to see specific details about the origins of the items they’re buying. Here’s why the move could not only contribute to human rights, but to a sustainable digital strategy for H&M.
After their meteoric rise in 2017, fast fashion brands continue to capture consumers’ attention. That said, competition is stiff and the spotlight shines bright on brands like Zara, Forever 21, and of course, H&M. But not all attention is positive. For example, H&M was singled out as one of two major brands mistreating workers. In this way, the brand’s decision to open up on this particular issue makes sense. Specifically, H&M will be shedding light on production country, supplier names, factory names and addresses as well as the number of workers in the factories for each piece of H&M clothing sold on the brand’s website. If shopping in person, customers can scan price tags to gain access to the same information via the H&M app.
Does anyone really look at the tiny tag on a product? Transparency is a trend that is actually already taking over several categories, including beauty and home & gift according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail. For example, bath bomb maker Lush continues to lift up product pages with extensive images of ingredients, while its UK brand even left Instagram to promote a relationship with its consumers not plagued with superficialities. H&M, too, has been making efforts to top up transparency when it comes to its audience and influencers via a new Quora-style website, and now, the composition of clothing.
Since H&M is one of the first major retailers to let it all hang out in such a way, it’s sure to cause a stir on social media. Weaving in the digital aspect helps too, as it makes the move even more accessible and puts the consumer in control of how and what they’re looking into, plus encourages them to download the app. With Earth Day earlier this week, sustainability is the hot topic for many brands, making H&M’s move even more current and relevant as it speaks to another equally-important sort of sustainability: the human life. Brands of all backgrounds looking to clean up their communication with consumers and take a stand for human rights might consider making this seemingly small, but significant change.