For any business with global expansion plans, knowing the local competition, pricing and the consumer is the recipe for success.
International expansion is one of the keys to Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s long-term growth. In order to connect with and become closer to its customers in local markets across the world, the global retailer opened regional corporate offices in London and Shanghai in 2019. As an EDITED partner since 2015, A&F Co., and its brands, Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie kids, Hollister, Gilly Hicks and Social Tourist, use the platform for all its seasonal cycles to help teams understand nuances by country within region. More recently, EDITED was especially helpful throughout 2020 when in-market visits were not possible.
“We had been in the markets for quite some time, but never had a team there directly. We knew we needed to take a more localized approach to stay connected to our customer and ensure we are delivering the types of products they want,” said Brooke Durbin, Director of Buying at Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
“We had a team in place for about five months before COVID hit that was able to travel to other regions or to stores. But then all travel stopped. EDITED really became our boots on the ground when we couldn’t get the local market analysis elsewhere.”
The A&F Co. buying and merchandising teams look at assortments on a global level, focusing on what’s sold online and what’s performing well to strategize what they want to sell in a particular region. The EDITED Market Intelligence platform gives visibility into the nuances of international markets, helping to determine the right decisions for that customer. Noting differences between the U.S. and international markets, the A&F Co. regional teams emphasize understanding the competitive landscape, product seasonality and, ultimately, customer needs.
“We had an opportunity to become even more customer focused and really narrow in on who our customer is and what that target age range looks like to create more distinct brand identities for both Abercrombie & Fitch and for Hollister,“ said Daniel LeVesconte, VP EMEA at Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
“EDITED helps to make sure we’re offering the most trend-relevant products to our target customers globally. It’s a great tool for us to work smarter – staying reactive to changes in the market, monitoring the competition across regions, and solidifying our pricing strategies.”
With EDITED market analytics, the team is able to see a vast range of retailers on a global scale and easily compare what’s happening across assortments, pricing and email communications. This information is crucial in planning and assortment strategies for each season.
“With EDITED, I’m looking at pricing and I’m looking at assortments,” said Brooke Durbin. “For example, say 20% of our competitor’s assortment are dresses. How does our assortment compare? Is there an opportunity here to adjust our ticket price?”
Pricing analysis is another key component for the Abercrombie team and has evolved since the start of using EDITED. Using the platform, they’re able to look at brands within different markets to make sure they’re priced competitively. Comparing these differences at a granular level helps the team better understand their customer and specifically tailor their offering to them.
For example, in one of their focused markets consumers tend to lean towards a dressier aesthetic. By using the assortment tool, the buying team can break down categories from competitors in that specific region and determine which to invest in.
“If we look at the number of tailored pants offered in a certain region and see the number of options offered, we can craft our long-term strategy based on if there’s an appetite for these products in the market and how we can grow that particular category,” saids Brooke Durbin.
The team is also on the same page when it comes to pricing and promoting these new investments as well. The digital age has made consumers more price-aware than ever before, giving them the ability to compare prices while shopping on and offline.
“We use EDITED to look at promotions and price points. For example, if we’re looking at denim, what are our competitors promoting in Germany versus Italy? When are they dropping new products and what are the price points?” said James Page, Senior Regional Merchant at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “With this type of analysis we can identify what the driving factors are behind a successful category and if there’s an opportunity to shift our own strategy.”
“It’s the best way to validate the decisions that you’re making,” said Victoria Pritchard, Regional Merchant at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “I’m making sure that everything is working both internally and externally. Having a snapshot view of what’s happening globally and at our competitors, all while comparing that to our own data and strategies is incredibly powerful.”
EDITED gives a 360 degree view of global assortments to see how your offering stacks up against the market in real-time to see what’s working and what isn’t. Retail Market Intelligence complements the data the team uses on a day-to-day basis. With visibility on the number of styles launched, discounted and selling each day, assortments are adjusted accordingly, ensuring they’re only putting maximum units behind the winning items that will turn profits.