Global Marketing

Abercrombie’s Approach to International Retailing

When it comes to international retailing it involves very locally entrenched activities. Some of these include stocking an assortment of products that local consumers prefer and seasonal promotion. In the end, adaptation is a key factor for success. Many countries have become more adept to e-commerce which has eased the barriers to retail across borders and many countries assisting in the opportunity for visibility between countries.

(Photo of Abercrombie  in Singapore)

Abercrombie and Fitch has explored many opportunities and adapted in the face of new trends in retailing. The company started in 1892 by David T. Abercrombie as a small waterfront shop in Manhattan called Abercrombie Company as an outdoor gear shop in the U.S. Over the past few decades, it’s garnered a solid reputation in many markets including China, Japan, Europe and Mexico. Abercrombie began expanding into these regions opening stores in  Ireland, Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands as well as stores in China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. These markets have enough potential to hold a significantly larger number of Abercrombie stores that they have yet to tap into. Another potential market could be the Middle East, where Abercrombie just has four stores. According to reports from Forbes, Abercrombie’s continued international expansion is the significantly higher productivity of its international stores. While an average U.S. store generates about $420 per square feet, an international store generates close to $770 per square feet. 

(Photo of an sbe x Abercrombie pop-up shop)

Throughout the pandemic, Abercrombie pulled back on its expenditures in brick and mortar stores, shifting the focus to online retailing as well as marketing targeted to its home country customers. Improving its website presence and the partnering with influencers to drive web traffic has been especially helpful in building up the brand and cutting costs through standalone stores. Additionally, according to Business Insider, Abercrombie has partnered  with sbe, a global hotel and lifestyle chain, to deliver pop-up shops in their hotels. This presents a great opportunity to penetrate international markets in a more cost-effective manner. It’s safe to say that there is a lot of opportunity for Abercrombie to build its brand presence in the wake of new technology changes. In fact, given their rocky history and scandals (racism, body shaming and more!), it may be better for them to have all the online marketing tools at their disposal to redefine their brand and reach broader audiences.