UK fashion retailer Fat Face has launched its US website, ahead of a planned roll-out of stores in the country.

The business, which last year announced its intentions to target the North American market supported by an eCommerce partnership with NetSuite, went live with its new portal in April and is seeking feedback from customers as it looks to lay down a marker outside its UK base.

At least one Fat Face store is set to open in the US before the end of the year, as the company – which is owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint and last year put on hold its plans to float on the UK stock market – looks to develop its international arm.

While store locations in the US remain a secret, the website has launched with the promise of free shipping on orders over $100 and is currently promoting relevant, tailored messaging to the US market focused on this Sunday's Mother's Day in the country. Prices are listed in US dollars, too.

In addition to NetSuite, Fat Face has been working with Brooklyn-based digital agency Huge to help develop a suitable customer experience online for the North American shopper.

Talking to Essential Retail on Tuesday, Paul Wright, head of eCommerce and marketing at Fat Face, said: "Consistently we're going back to the customers and making sure we are addressing their needs, appropriately.

"Having one or two stores this year probably won't reach that many customers, so having a solid experience on the website is absolutely crucial. You have to get it right there first."

UK retailers are increasingly looking abroad for growth, and using eCommerce as a method to raise a profile in new territories. Last week, for example, cards and stationery retailer Paperchase launched an online retail operation and French language website for its customers in France, adding to its US-focused portal which has been running for a number of years.

Hear more from Paul Wright on the latest developments at Fat Face and why customer experience is considered in every investment decision the company makes, in an in-depth interview to be published in this publication next week.

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