Has Anyone Won H&M ?

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Well over a year ago we asked if it could really be true ‘Cisco To Win H&M Business?‘ which was at least Cisco’s belief so certain were they of winning the protracted RFI and RFP process conducted by the Swedish retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing offerings for women, men, teenagers and children.

With over 2,300 stores in 41 countries you would have thought that it would have been a nice deal for the vendors who won any of the 4 or 5 RFPs supposedly up on offer.

Many smart vendors mind refused to take part in the process (which reminds us a lot of the Harbucks debacle we wrote about in August 2010) as this is allegedly the third time that H&M have pulled this trick of cancelling a project that had supposed buy-in

In years gone by, Wirespring won the first two RFPs but we believe that they did not take part this time around.

The final three in the main part of the RFP process were Cisco and two others (who we know but won’t name).

9 Responses to “Has Anyone Won H&M ?”

  1. Arnie Says:

    The infamous H&M ‘RFP’ or really friggin pointless has been around as long as the bubonic plague. More to the point the 2 other companies that pursued this should have known better. Why not name them too? This approach by a major retailer is a telling indictment of greedy penny pinching morons that do ntothing to advance our industry.

  2. Tim Harvey Says:

    Why is everyone getting upset with H&M? Was it the RFP that completely misrepresented H&M’s actual needs? They’ve obviously weighed up the ‘cost plus hassle’ of the vendor’s Digital Signage proposals against the benefits it will bring them and decided its not for them at this time. As an industry, we should be doing better to give customers a compelling SOLUTION rather than a hard time when they decide not to blow the budget on a perceived “overpriced and complex screen network”.

  3. Swamp Digger Says:

    Dang, if only OpenSplash was ready in time, Adrian could have become the greatest, nay, the greatest greatest and most dangerous person in digital signage!! oh the humanity. Never mind, we’ll invent an award and give it to him now.

  4. Ken Goldberg Says:

    Perhaps the result may have been different had the RFP been distributed a bit more widely. I doubt the process was run to waste their own time as well as that of those that responded. If you find yourself shopping in the wrong store, why should you feel compelled to buy? That is as true for technology as it is for clothing. If the project has buy in, then perhaps the shopping will continue until they find the right fit. Maybe Arnie above has some first hand insights that I do not, but would a Cisco win have been hailed as the right choice? Doubtful.

  5. Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief Says:

    H&M have history here. This was the 3rd time they ran an RFI / RFP process. Twenty vendors took part in the RFI so it was quite widely distributed. Super smart sensible stayed away though (but in these climes let’s be fair it’s always difficult to keep away from something you might just win)

  6. Ken Goldberg Says:

    Two thoughts:

    1. Maybe I should feel lucky that we never saw the RFI, because

    2. Vendor-paid pilots are a sure sign of no skin in the game.

  7. Jason Cremins Says:

    This should have been a ‘Request For Information’ as the ‘P for Proposal’ in RFP would indicate they have a clear business objective with the appropriate measures for a successful bid process.

    As someone who did see the RFP (via a partner) and declined to participate for the reasons above, I am please we made the right decision.

  8. Stuart Chambers Says:

    Having read all the posts and been involved in an H&M rfi with Avanti, but many years ago I find myself broadly ageeing with Tim Harveys sentiment. Personally I think there is a disconnect between the retailer expectation of technology. Retailers still see a big gap between the potential these new technologies can bring and its actual value. Cisco are box shifters thinking they can enter the market once it appears to have achieved some traction. They don`t understand retail, and that is the unlock.

  9. Dave Haynes Says:

    I am coming off writing four very different digital signage RFPs for four very different clients in the last half-year or so. All four were started with timelines and earnest objectives in mind.

    They spent the money and allocated a lot of time and resources to get these things prepped.

    But of the four, two are on hold for executive floor business reasons the proponents can’t control, like budgets or shifting short-term priorities.

    So, sometimes it does just happen that RFPs and RFIs put bidders through a wringer, only to see nothing happen. It’s far better for all concerned if the deferall or hard stop happens, though, before the doc gets sent around and vendors put in all the work.

    One of the ways vendors can somewhat protect themselves is using the opportunity usually provided to ask questions about the RFP after it is sent around. I wouldn’t be shy, at all, about asking if the project is budgeted, what the timelines look like, how decisions will be made and how the document was put together.

    I have my doubts about RFPs just being make-work projects for IT departments. These things are a LOT of work and I suspect there are far easier ways to look busy.

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