The news hot off the wire is that American label J.Crew will now be delivering to Australia. What is hidden is that while J.Crew has partnered with ShopStyle, the international style network with an Australian arm, for their local presence, a user could just go straight to the J.Crew site and order directly from there. Indeed ShopStyle just shows the product, but the ordering and checkout all occur on the J.Crew site itself.
Still, it’s a great signing by ShopStyle - they add a household name brand that is sure to bring traffic and sales to the site, while for J.Crew the partnership is an easy way to bring their products to a new audience via ShopStyles established membership base.
According to Power Retail, J.Crew will now be available in 107 countries, and even for a large organisation with a sophisticated web presence like J.Crew, the international aspects of ecommerce would have been difficult to navigate. Partnering with an ecommerce expert in ShopStyle, with a global presence, significantly drops the risk.
J.Crew began in 1983, and since 2003 has been run by Micky Drexler, who once had astounding success with Gap. But probably just as critical for their current industry standing is the creative direction of Jenna Lyons, a constant media fixture for her style and personality. Will J.Crew achieve commercial success in selling to Australia? One would think that with the connected consumer being well aware of popular culture in the USA (and Michelle Obama is an often cited J.Crew fan) that there’ll be little trouble in luring the Australian shopper.
J.Crew’s own online store is a fully featured and quick, and for shopping from Australia, it is a seamless shop and checkout experience – which underlines that the only reason for the ShopStyle partnership is probably to utilise ShopStyle’s member networks in each of the ShopStyle countries.
For brands that are well known in their home countries, it seems that it’s a growing trend to partner into new territories. Expect more partnerships in in 2012.