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The Rebirth of Forever 21’s Australian Online Presence

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By Published On: January 7, 20200 Comments

American fast-fashion retailer, Forever 21, announced the shuttering of several stores in 2019 due to falling sales. However, the retailer has announced its rebirth of sorts for its online presence, pulling focus on Australia. 

Forever 21 is re-launching its online platform across the globe to drive growth in Canada, America, APAC and LATAM. The retailer has made the decision to move away from its physical store presence, and keep its sight on digital shopping, a statement reads.

The American retailer will work with Global-e to renew its online image, thus creating an ‘improved, localised e-commerce experience’ for its customers across the globe, as well as expand its current reach.

Forever 21 was originally founded in LA in 1984, trading under the name Fashion 21. The founders, Do Won Chang and Jin Sook Chang, from South Korea, opened the store with the hopes to reach the young Korean-American demographic. Using styles similar to those in South Korea, the store was hugely successful, and within its first year, its sales totalled $700,000. Following this success, the retailer opened more than 800 stores across the globe, including one in Martin Place, Sydney, in 2016. The estimated value in 2015 was $4.4 billion, with Chang’s net worth of $6.1 billion, according to Forbes. This came crashing down in 2019 after the retailer closed more than 150 stores in the US, China and many others over the world. Other issues that plagued the retailer included copyright lawsuits, controversies and ‘tone-deaf‘ marketing.

The Future of Forever 21’s Physical Stores

As was documented in 2019, Forever 21 began shutting many of its physical stores, after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the time of the announcement, the retailer was adamant that it would be shutting stores, but not closing the brand as a whole. “This does NOT mean that we are going out of business – on the contrary, filing for bankruptcy protection is a deliberate and decisive step to put us on a successful track for the future”  a statement by the retailer read. “We are confident this is the right path for the long-term health of our business. Once we complete a reorganisation, Forever 21 will be a stronger, more viable company that is better positioned to prosper for years to come. We look forward to continuing to provide you with the great service and curated assortment of merchandise that you expect from us.”

As such Forever 21 will close most of its stores across Canada, Asia and Europe – however, it will continue to ship to these international locations through its US platform.

Forever 21’s New Beginning

The announcement states that the implementation of Global-e’s cross-border e-commerce solution, Forever 21 will now be able to ‘provide its customers in Canada and in markets across Asia, APAC and LATAM with an enhanced online shopping experience that is adjusted according to the local market’s characteristics and shoppers’ preferences’.

“The global e-commerce market represents an enormous growth opportunity. Over 60 percent of Australian online shoppers and more than 80 percent of Canadian online shoppers are now purchasing from international retailers, and we’re also noticing a growing trend towards cross-border e-commerce from a variety of markets across APAC and LATAM,” explains Matthew Merrilees, CEO, North America, Global-e, said: Matthew Merrilees, CEO, North America, Global-e.

“Brands like Forever 21 understand that in order to boost global sales, it is crucial to create an online presence that is fully localised to each individual market. Not only does this create a seamless shopping experience that feels familiar to the consumer, but also ensures that brands like Forever 21 continue to uphold their famously high standards of customer service. This localisation is also important in markets such as Canada that are already key international destinations for many American brands, but were tailoring the offering to unique market characteristics such as the local taxes threshold, will result in a significant increase in conversion rates.”

This partnership means that consumers have the choice to make a purchase online, with access to more than 95 currencies and 150 local payment methods. Moreover, all convenient tax and duties calculation will be equipped with an option for ‘real-time prepayment at checkout’.

“Being able to offer our consumers a sophisticated online experience, tailored to their shopping preferences, wherever they are in the world, is a key priority for us,” says Kevin Diamond, Head of Global E-commerce at Forever 21. “With Global-e, we can confidently optimise the user experience and align our international offering with our global business needs and goals. We are excited to launch our renewed international online store in Canada, APAC and LATAM and provide our customers in these markets with the very best online shopping experience.”

The partnership with Global-e also means that Forever 21 can begin ‘offering per market according to its marketing strategy and business goals, including running market-specific promotions’.

“E-commerce forms a large chunk of the profitable core of our operations and as part of our new global strategy, Forever 21 will leverage Global-e’s technology to offer international customers an outstanding online experience,” explains Alex Ok, President of Forever 21. “To engage digitally-savvy consumers today, retailers need to invest in creating a unique online experience that speaks directly to the shopper. With the continued increase in demand from international shoppers for our brand, we recognised that an advanced global online shopping experience is a fundamental part of our future growth. The seamless localised shopping experience our consumers around the world can now enjoy is a vital milestone in our mission to use the latest retail technology to bridge the online gap between the convenience of e-commerce and the local experience of in-store.”

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