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Drapers Fashion Summit: Brands should let third-parties run overseas sites

British brands and retailers should be prepared to cede control of their online proposition to third parties when looking to expand overseas rather than go it alone, experts have said.

Speaking at Drapers Fashion Summit in central London today (November 21) Gracia Amico, director of ecommerce at Hobbs, said brands should take “a step back” when it comes to international ecommerce and allow wholesale partners to sell products exclusively online.

Pricing structure was one of the main issues Amico highlighted.

“We didn’t sell online in the Far East, as our wholesale partners there sold our product at a higher price and we didn’t want to undercut them,” she said.

“We launched a website in line with local prices and our wholesale partners were happy but it didn’t work as shoppers could see the difference in prices between the UK and Asian sites.”

Simon Taylor, head of international franchise at New Look, said although ecommerce was a great opportunity for growth, he claimed it “makes more sense in some markets than in others.”

The complications that arise from dealing with franchise partners in Asia in particular, could mean a transactional website run by third parties “could be problematic”.

“You have to assess the capabilities of your franchise partner to move into ecommerce, as well as deciding if it’s worthwhile to go down that road.”

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