H&M Ignores Underserved Market by Pulling Plus Size Clothing from Stores (Watch)

Popular retail chain H&M has reportedly removed all plus size clothing from its stores in New York City. A representative for the company explained that the stores simply don’t have enough room for those clothing options anymore since they’ve added new product lines like home goods and beauty supplies.

But this move could very well turn out to be a negative one for the retailer, even with the new product lines. Fashion industry experts including Tim Gunn and Christian Siriano think that the fashion industry is failing its female consumers by not offering enough fashionable options for plus size women.

And H&M already launched an ad campaign with plus size model Ashley Graham earlier this year. But the company had to include a fine print disclaimer that said customers can only buy those plus size clothing options online.

Will this example of abandoning underserved markets be a lesson in missed opportunity?

Plus size clothing consumers make up a fairly high percentage of the market. And if you believe those industry experts, it’s a segment that’s fairly underserved at the moment. So by pulling those clothing options from stores, H&M could be missing out on an opportunity. In addition, if those customers can only shop for their clothing options online, they’re less likely to see all those new home goods and beauty products that are carried in stores.

H&M Store Photo via Shutterstock

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Spotlight: Bornevia Offers Customer Support for an Underserved Market

bornevia team

There’s no shortage of SaaS or CRM offerings for businesses in the U.S. But there are other markets around the world that don’t necessarily have the same offerings to cater to their businesses.

As an engineer in the Bay Area, Benny Tija realized that there may be a market for a product that he could build in his home country of Indonesia. So, he and his co-founder left their other jobs to start Bornevia. Read about the business and what it offers to Asian businesses in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Offers an SaaS multi-channel customer support platform.

The help desk platform includes channels like email, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, live chat and SMS in one ticketing platform. So, the businesses that use it can communicate with their customers in a variety of different ways.

Business Niche

Being the first startup in Indonesia to build a SaaS CRM platform for customer service.

Tija, CEO and co-founder of Bornevia, told Small Business Trends, “Many of our clients in Southeast Asia primarily love our solution due to two things; UI/UX simplicity plus the fact that we have WhatsApp, live chat and email integrations plus analytics to monitor individual KPIs.”


How the Business Got Started

Because of an untapped market.

Tija explains, “I used to work for a SaaS B2B tech company in SF Bay Area (now already acquired by Microsoft). Back then, I used lots of other B2B tools such as Zendesk and Jira and felt that there was untapped potentials in the growing Asia tech startup ecosystem. In April 2012, I left and went back home to Indonesia and decided to adopt the idea of SaaS helpdesk software and localize it based on popular support channels so it can fit in [an] Asian market better while we can grow our low touch tractions on the global SMB market as a SaaS product.”

Tija and his co-founder secured some angel funding and spent six months building the product before launching.

Biggest Win

Successfully switching to a free trial model.

Tija explained that early on they were worried about getting enough sign ups, so they used a freemium pricing model. But once they realized they were getting enough interest, they wanted to switch to a free trial model.

He says, “Since beginning 2015, we switched to using [a] free-trial model because we believe it’s easier to track leads this way and in October, we increased efforts on doing outbound user acquisitions locally. The results have been highly positive for our business.”

Biggest Risk

Focusing on building a product over sales.

Tija says, “ As I spent time in Bay Area as an engineer building a SaaS B2B product, my experience tells me that a great product should help market and build value itself in the long term. It was a great decision, since many people like and appreciate our product due to its stability and UI/UX design.”

bornevia screen

Team Tradition

Celebratory dinners.

Tija says, “We always do special dinner at a fine-dining restaurant with the whole team when celebrating a major milestone (raise funding, really major feature release, etc).”

Favorite Quote

“Always put your customers first, employees second, and shareholders third.” –Jack Ma

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.

Images: Bornevia

Top Image: (left to right) Front Row: Michaela (VP of Engineering), Theo (Software engineer), Benny (CEO, co-founder), Albert (Software engineer), Alex (software engineer), Febry (software engineer), Tjiu (CTO, co-founder); Front Row: Richard (business development), Handison (software engineer)