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Will Abercrombie & Fitch’s European strategy be the beginning of the end?

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One amazing thing about Abercrombie and Fitch is that it creates almost black-market situations. Let me explain.

Until recently Abercrombie & Fitch was a US-based brand and you had to cross the ocean to visit a store and purchase from them. Wearing a Abercombie piece of cloth was therefore a sign that you went there and a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. That’s why not only teenagers visit Abercombie in the US but also a lot of moms and dads who are there on behalf of their children.
This rarity has for consequence that strange situations can be witnessed; like the one I observed in Rome where I saw a store displaying merchandising and a few pieces of clothes for sale. As you can imagine it was not an “authorized dealer” in any way and I guess the owner made the trip to the US, bought some stuffs there and brought it back to Italy to sell it in his store.

 

This being said you may now realize that Abercombrie’s expansion strategy in Europe may end up  such situations but will push Abercombie in unknown territories. Think about it for one moment. It’s illusory to think that customers go to the stores only for the experience. Go in any US store and you’ll see a lot of tourists. Will those tourists still go there when the same stuffs can be found in Europe; probably not. And will teenagers, the end consumers of the products, still be interested in those products when they become available to anybody in Europe? That’s the big question mark.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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