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In an indicator of the madness that would ensue when and if H&M ever does launch e-commerce in the US, the retailer's Fashion Star microsite just barely managed not to crash last night after the fourth Episode aired.
From the beginning, H&M has been having issues with volume and fulfillment. After Episode 1, which featured Sarah Parrott's memorable teal cut-out minidress, there were also some major order fulfillment issues: Jezebel editor Dodai Stewart purchased the dress, but received a customer service email two days later saying the order had been cancelled. We asked H&M about the issues and got this response:
"There was a technical issue?with the third party operator that we are working with to manage the online portion of our sales. This technical error was the reason there was a problem with filling all online orders. This has been resolved and all orders that are completed online will be filled this week."
As far as we know, fulfillment has gone smoothly since then, but site volume and quick sell-outs continue to be an issue. After Episode 2, Sarah Parrott's tuxedo pants were dunzo within minutes of the credit roll, and her printed maxi from Episode 3 was sold out by the time we checked in at 7:45 am the next day (which means it was probably long gone way earlier than that).
After last night's episode, which once again featured a winning dress from Sarah Parrott, both versions of the garment were sold out within 20 minutes of the finale, as was a printed maxi dress from Nikki Poulous. This time around, we also got high-volume error messages when we tried to click through to the dresses, and we weren't the only ones. A follower tweeted at us that she was "ready & signed in" but the site froze and went from "in stock" to "out of stock" before she could buy.
So online shoppers are a little unhappy, but it's hard to tell whether this is good or bad news for H&M—after all, the buzz around frenzied online sell-outs might actually be better for business.
Have you tried to shop H&M's Fashion Star online? Good or bad, let us know how it went via the tipline.