Crabtree & Evelyn explores Europe online with Global-e

Crabtree & Evelyn is expanding its cross-border reach in Europe, by partnering with global eCommerce platform, Global-e, to gain a perspective on potential new markets.

While the US retailer of body and home products already trades online in the UK, Germany and France on fully translated in-house websites, Crabtree & Evelyn wanted to test the waters of other European countries before committing to launching dedicated local websites.

Hannah Stote, eCommerce manager at Crabtree & Evelyn, said Global-e provided this test bed, allowing the retailer to assess a potential move into different markets, depending on traffic and sales.

She told Essential Retail the retailer has received traffic from the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium since working with the vendor at the beginning of this year. "While it isn't anything compared to UK traffic, it is really worth exploring those routes," she said. "Globlal-e is a really good interim solution – you don’t want to go and build a translated site in a market you are not sure about, because it needs management and investment."

Stote said the retailer will spend time identifying key markets and then potentially invest in other fully-translated websites later on – regardless of the UK's decision to leave the EU and any implications this may have for cross-border trade.

European customers who visit Crabtree & Evelyn online from countries other than the UK, Germany and France, are provided with a local experience through geo-location, and are asked if they would like to shop in Euros.

"It's the same user shopping experience as the UK, but we've developed the site so we have zones where we show some messages, such as free delivery in the UK only."

While the Global-e sites are not translated, the delivery and currency elements are flexible and localised – which Stote said are the biggest sticking points for international conversion. "Global-e offers various [payment] experiences, so it lets customers pick a payment method that is familiar to them."

Crabtree & Evelyn began in the US in the late '70s and has a big presence in the US, Europe and Asia. The retailer launched its UK website in 2005 and has 28 standalone stores in the country as well selling wholesale to the likes of John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

Stote continued: "The biggest challenge we face is that we're quite a large company and operate globally, but the regions have operated a little bit on their own, so from an eCommerce perspective we need to join up on that and digital has been a bit of a focus over the last few years."

Global-e's fully responsive platform is available in over 60 countries, as well as 45 different payment methods, multiple shipping options, and local duty and tax calculation. The company also freezes exchange rates at the time of purchase, so if a customer bought something in Spain in Euros and then a week later returned the item, they would be paid the amount they spent on the day, so neither the retailer or customer would be out of pocket.

Nir Debbi, co-founder and CMO at Global-e, added: "In today’s global market, retailers simply cannot afford to deliver a poor customer experiences for shoppers in the UK or elsewhere. With shoppers now becoming more accustomed to shopping online in many markets worldwide, retailers that don’t adapt to rising expectations will lose out to competitors that offer a better experience. Savvy retailers like Crabtree & Evelyn understand just how important the shopping experience is – and the potential sales uplift that can be achieved by tapping into fast-growing eCommerce markets around the world."