H&M South Asia eyes sustainable, immersive retail experience
Managing Director Oldouz Mirzaie discusses growth, digital transformation and sustainability as core strategies in an evolving market.
Amidst the rise in digitalisation, H&M South Asia is leading the charge in sustainable and innovative fashion retailing in this dynamic region as it provides access to affordable fashion.
In an interview with Retail Asia, Oldouz Mirzaie, the Managing Director of H&M South Asia, shared that the fashion brand has focused its attention on integrating its various channels into an omni-channel strategy to provide a seamless shopping experience.
“Throughout the pandemic, we saw a rapid acceleration of digitalisation. This is a good thing for us but it also means that we had to look into our operations and define a different channel strategy. Our physical store portfolio remains very important but it is equally crucial to understand the purpose of the different channels,” Mirzaie said.
“Technology also plays a big part in being immersed and integrated into fashion either through digitalisation, digital clothing, artificial intelligence (AI), or augmented reality experiences. The customers now determine when, where, and how they want to shop. Brands need to adapt to the pace and the demands of the customer,” she added.
Mirzaie also highlighted that sustainability is a core of H&M's business strategy, noting that the company aims to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by half by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2040.
“For us, it is not just about democratising fashion. But it is about democratising affordable and sustainable fashion. It is integrated into our business idea,” she said.
As a leader, Mirzaie emphasized the need to listen to customers and respond to their changing demands.
An integral part of this approach has been the integration of physical and digital shopping channels, optimising the physical portfolio by incorporating digital elements, and predicting demand more accurately to offer a more sustainable business model.
“One of those things that we have also done is improving our customer promise. For example, we opened up an online warehouse in Malaysia earlier this spring so that we can deliver to our customers a lot faster in a much more sustainable way,” she said.
“Overall, sustainability has been a big part of our leadership, really integrating it into our entire value chain, and getting closer and closer to our 2030 and 2040 goals. It also starts with our actual offerings and today we’re very proud to say that 84% of our materials come from sustainable sources,” Mirzaie added.