US retailer American Eagle Outfitters is making further inroads into the UK market with the launch of its first ever localised e-commerce site.
The clothing giant has a strong global presence, with 24 stores in cities around the world including Dubai and Shanghai. Its London store, which opened last year, was its first move into Western Europe – one the company hopes to strengthen with its new UK website.
Simon Nankervis, Chief Commercial Officer told CNBC that there are “definite shifts between the various brick and mortar and digital channels” and that he thinks “we’ll see more of that consumption continue to move online.”
Previously the company had been running its e-commerce operations from one centralised American website. The new UK site will be the brand’s first localised web address.
“This is our first into actually servicing the customer from their home base,” Nankervis continued.
He also defended the company’s ongoing focus on London as opposed to the rest of Western Europe as a first stage for expansion, saying that the UK consumer was “leading the trend and giving us a definite read on the way we want the consumers to work with us here.”
“American Eagle is taking a canny approach to its UK launch. It is following in the footsteps of another American brand, J Crew, which also tested the waters online before investing in physical stores,” comments Darryl Adie, MD at ecommerce agency Ampersand.
“Following its UK ecommerce launch in 2011, J Crew opened three stores in London, starting in 2013,” he added.
“Breaking into a new market can be costly and retailers need to ensure they have done their due diligence before doing so. This is especially pertinent for a retailer like American Eagle which offers a very specific type of clothing.
By using the ecommerce channel to launch internationally, retailers are able to gather invaluable customer and market insight. This is the right way for international brands to go about expanding multi-channel retailing in new markets."