E-Commerce Before a Store?

In just under 8 years, the American brand Tory Burch is now valued just over 2 billion dollars.  The designer’s handbags, sunglasses, clothing and shoes are flying off the shelf in Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks and Bloomingdales.  With the amount of success Tory Burch has had in the United States, why not try Asia and Europe. (Side note:  I saw Tory Burch at the Dries exhibit when we visited as a class!  We even made eye contact, haha).

Tory Burch. photo credit: butterboom.com

Tory Burch.
photo credit: butterboom.com

Before becoming a successful fashion brand, Burch put her time in at companies like Vera Bradley, Ralph Lauren and wrote for Harpers Bazaar. Finally in 2004, Burch launched her colorful flagship store in New York City and her business has been growing quickly. According to the website internetretail.com, Tory Burch operates more than 100 stores globally along with e-commerce sites in France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and Austria. So is starting an e-commerce site before opening an actual retail store the way to go?  Tory Burch ships internationally to 30 countries from its main distribution center in the United States.  I tried researching if the brand has other distribution centers in Europe but came up short.  I would think they do because shipping internationally can get fairly expensive…but who knows.

Even with countries that have the e-commerce site the brand really uses social media to its advantage. For example, Tory Burch is on the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo.com.  Doing this is all about branding and also supporting the stores that already exist there.

Tory's first stand alone shop in Asia.

Tory’s first stand alone shop in Asia.

In 2012, Tory Burch launched their e-commerce website in the UK partnering with the company NETRADA, a company that develops and implements company e-commerce websites in Europe, North American and Asia for the fashion and lifestyle industries. The Tory Burch online shop is visually appealing, like the store, and allows the customers to explore all the brand’s products as well as visit the Tory Blog and Tory City Guide Tips.  The website incorporates fashion show videos and social media functionalities as well.

Alexandra Swies

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