Accessories retailer Claire’s is launching its first transactional European website next week as its turnaround gathers pace.
The site, which will deliver to 180 countries, will launch in English next week, while French and German sites are planned before the end of the year. A transactional mobile site will launch at the same time, with both sites featuring online boutiques for each product collection, as well as a gift finder.
The website will also focus on providing quality editorial content and Claire’s aims to create a sense of community. A spokeswoman said the retailer does expect to generate sales online, but that it is largely an extension of the brand into the online channel.
The site will host ‘how-to’ hair and nail video tutorials, as well as content from a network of bloggers. It will also host a wish list feature, allowing shoppers to send links to products they want to family and friends. Shoppers will also be able to upload their own videos.
Claire’s had opted not to launch a transactional site before because its core audience is largely under 18 and can’t buy online using credit cards. But the spokeswoman said it decided to launch a site after tracking social media’s growth in importance over the past couple of years. She said: “Social media is now even more important and young girls are always on their phones or tablets, so we wanted to make sure we are part of their world, which is now mainly online.”
Claire’s European e-commerce director David Devany said: “By the end of 2014 we foresee that mobile transaction usage will overtake desktop computers. Right now, 66% of 14-23-year-olds own a smartphone and 73% of teens are active on social media. We wanted our site to be an extension of our consumers’ lifestyles, an engaging destination to explore the latest trends.”
Claire’s European boss Beatrice Lafon took control of the business in October 2011, after the retailer had suffered five years of sales decline in the UK and Ireland. She said: “The launch of ecommerce for our European business is very exciting for us. It enables us to give our customers a true 360 degree shopping experience with the possibility to shop in-store, online and on mobile.”
Claire’s operates 3,000 stores worldwide, with 1,170 in 15 European countries.