Forever 21 jump-starts eCommerce ambitions after retail woes

Forever 21 is working with cross-border eCommerce solution provider Global-e to roll out its renewed international online store to drive growth from Asia Pacific, Canada and Latin America. The collaboration will enable Forever 21 to tailor its offering in each market according to its marketing strategy and business goals, including running market-specific promotions.

This is part of its shift in focus away from physical retail and comes months after Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy last September. The company previously said it aims to globally restructure to focus on a profitable core part of its operations.

The online store includes an improved, localised eCommerce experience for international shoppers which includes more than 95 currencies, over 150 local and alternative payment methods, and localised checkout in 21 languages. The localised shopping experience also touts a wide array of shipping methods and convenient tax and duties calculation with an option for real time prepayment at checkout. The fast fashion company also said that it will be closing most physical stores in Asia, Europe and Canada, but will continue to ship to international customers through its US website at Forever21.com.

Forever 21's president Alex Ok said eCommerce forms a large chunk of the profitable core of its operations. To engage the digitally-savvy consumers of today, Ok said retailers are required to invest in creating a unique online experience that speaks directly to shoppers.

"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 eCommerce and the local experience of in-store," he explained.

Meanwhile, Global-e's CEO, North America Matthew Merrilees said brands such as Forever 21 understand that in order to boost global sales, it is important to create an online experience 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," he said.

He added that this localisation is also important in markets such as Canada that are already key international destinations for many American brands, but where tailoring the offering to unique market characteristics such as the local taxes threshold, will result in significant increase in conversion rates.

Separately, around the same time when Forever 21 announced it was filing for bankruptcy, American singer Ariana Grande sued the fast fashion retailer for launching an ad campaign resembling her “7 Rings” music video and using a look alike model in its ads. The campaign also used the phrase “You want it, we got it!” which was similar to the iconic phrase “I want it, I got it” used in Grande’s song.

In a lawsuit filed with the US District Court Central District of California seen by Marketing previously, Grande said Forever 21 had sought her endorsement of its clothing and accessories in February 2019, “hoping to benefit from Grande’s celebrity and influence”. The endorsement deal involved social media marketing, including but not limited to posts on Twitter and Instagram, as well as Instagram stories.