Home / Industry / Retail /  H&M likely to partner with Trell to expand reach in India

New Delhi: Fast-fashion retailer H&M is likely to be onboarded by Trell as a partner brand as it uses social commerce platforms to reach more shoppers in the country. Based in Bengaluru, Trell is an influencer-based social commerce platform.

Last month, H&M Group, through its investment arm, participated in a $45 million Series B round of funding led by financial group Mirae Asset and co-led by LB Investments in Trell.

As part of the investment the retailer could start using influencers to sell its affordable fashion and accessories on the platform.

The move marks how retailers are now eyeing new and emerging commerce platforms as covid-19 fast-tracks the adoption of digital commerce.

To be sure, homegrown short video app Trell pivoted as a lifestyle social commerce platform that enables content creators to upload short-form videos across categories such as beauty, fashion, wellness, health, travel, and gadgets, among others. Additionally, Trell also allows users to shop from its platform enabling influencer-led selling of various brands via Trell Shop. The feature was added in September 2020.

Its shopping platform for now is limited to beauty and personal care brands such as Maybelline, L’Oréal, Garnier, Plum and Bombay Shaving Company, among others.

Trell is, however, planning to expand social commerce into categories such as apparel, home care, and baby products, said Pulkit Agrawal, co-founder and CEO, Trell.

“Going forward our aim will be to launch fashion and apparel, so we are going to add up the category and going to partner with apparel brands in the space -- right from international brands to Indian ones," Agrawal said.

Trell did not disclose timeline as to when it will start retailing clothing and fashion products but said H&M will be a partner brand. Once H&M comes on board as a partner, it will host its inventory on Trell Shop.

“Given our plans of launching fashion and apparel, we definitely see them as one of the partner brands in the journey ahead. I think they add immense value in terms of bringing themselves on board. At the same time the learnings about the supply chain and how they build their brands," he said.

Nanna Andersen, head of H&M CO:LAB, H&M Group’s Investment arm said that H&M Group sees social commerce as an “exciting" and “growing" space within the retail industry both in India and globally. “We look forward to sharing more about our collaboration with them in the future," she said. H&M has over 50 stores in the country. It also sells via its own e-commerce platform as well as Flipkart-backed fashion shopping platform Myntra.

Anderson said that while this is H&M's first investment in the region and in the area of social commerce, H&M's other investments to date cover multiple continents and are not limited by geography.

Social commerce, wherein consumers use a host of social media platforms and reselling apps to buy and sell products, is emerging as a key medium for businesses. In India, such businesses market their products through Facebook-backed WhatsApp, Facebook apart from platforms such as Meesho, Trell, Kiko TV, Bulbul etc. Cheap data and a large smartphone user base have helped fuel the growth of such new-age commerce channels. A joint report by Bain and Co. and Sequoia India said that social commerce will rise tenfold to touch $16-20 billion in gross merchandise vale (GMV) in the next five years from the existing $1.5-2 billion.

China is already ahead when it comes to adoption to social commerce as it brings together e-commerce and social media, consulting firm EY said in a blogpost earlier this year. Social commerce already accounts for nearly 13% of all online retail sales taking place in the country, EY said in its note.

For the six-month period ended 31 May 2021, H&M's net sales in India rose from Rs645.86 crore in the previous year to Rs836.6 crore in the first half of the year, it said in its recent earnings statement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Suneera Tandon

Suneera Tandon is a New Delhi based reporter covering consumer goods for Mint. Suneera reports on fast moving consumer goods makers, retailers as well as other consumer-facing businesses such as restaurants and malls. She is deeply interested in what consumers across urban and rural India buy, wear and eat. Suneera holds a masters degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi.
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