The powers of web-based and mobile devices allow consumers to learn about international brands and merchandise more easily. As a result, many retailers are extending purchasing and shipping capabilities to global audiences to increase brand penetration and boost purchases. Although Garnet Hill — a women’s and children’s apparel, and home décor retailer — developed a loyal customer base in the U.S. and Japan, the merchant was eager to create greater awareness in other locations.
To accomplish this goal, Garnet Hill partnered with FiftyOne, a global e-Commerce solution provider, to extend purchasing and shipping to more than 100 countries. As a result, the retailer will work towards increasing brand recognition and loyalty worldwide, according to Wendy Thayer, Public Relations Manager for Garnet Hill.
“This global expansion, supported by Garnet Hill’s successful, 15-year business in Japan, capitalizes on the momentum that has made us a top U.S. and Japanese brand, and allows our company to continue growing brand awareness and product offerings across the globe,” Thayer told Retail TouchPoints. “This launch of full-scale international e-Commerce positions Garnet Hill for continued growth by leveraging our domestic expertise and exposing the brand to customers around the world.”
The FiftyOne solution allows shoppers worldwide to browse and buy Garnet Hill products on a single site that is customized based on the visitor’s location. At checkout, all item prices automatically are changed to represent specific currency rates as well as shipping and delivery options.
Additionally, the tool is designed to localize site design and messaging as well as cross-border delivery and import processes. This strategy helps ensure that international shoppers receive an engaging and enjoyable e-Commerce experience that is brand relevant yet customized to specific tastes and customs.
Though Garnet Hill’s Japan business provided a basic understanding of how to build its business internationally, the retailer was eager to make expansion easier and more effective to compete, according to Jason Desser, Director of Sales and Alliances for FiftyOne.
“We work closely with each of our merchant partners to expand their global footprint by reaching new, previously unobtainable markets,” Desser said. “By streamlining existing international processes in a way that fits within a company’s current e-Commerce infrastructure, the expansion process is much easier and more cost efficient.”
As more retailers look to global audiences to increase brand penetration and sales, they are incorporating international e-Commerce capabilities into their existing strategies. In fact, as of May 2012, FiftyOne is powering 130 global retail storefronts with its offerings, Desser reported.
However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to international expansion, Desser explained. Merchants first must analyze their current reputations worldwide to determine the proper approach, and whether any expansion at all is a wise investment. “For example, it’s helpful for retailers to do some research to understand whether their brand or products are recognized internationally, without a sizable number of replacements available locally,” he said. “If the product you’re selling can’t be found easily and at competitive prices in a local market, you should look more closely into expansion to that market. It’s also wise to think realistically about how difficult and/or costly your extra large or heavy items may be to ship internationally.”