NEW YORK — Zeroing in on Russia as a key market, Shopbop is launching a Russian-translated site today.
This story first appeared in the August 7, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Russian site, ru.shopbop.com, is Shopbop’s third locally-translated site in addition to the English and Mandarin versions. As for why Russia, why now, “We recognized it’s a fast-growing online shopping market in general. There is a strong audience for fashion and within Europe, it’s one of the biggest online audiences,” said Darcy Penick, Shopbop’s chief merchandising officer. “We have seen growth in our business and that the customer in Russia who really appreciates fashion is really engaged across major brands and Shopbop already. We’re really looking to improve their current experience by speaking to them in their local language.”
To Penick’s point, Shopbop, which launched in 2000 and is owned by Amazon, has already been serving the Russian market for several years. By translating the site to the local language, the company hopes to engage a broader audience. Labels include 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Alice + Olivia, J Brand, Rag & Bone, Equipment, Jason Wu and Thakoon. For the most part, the Russian site will be an exact translation of what’s found on the English site — same designers, same trends, same product detail — with a little bit of local flavor. For example, to launch the site, there will be an editorial feature on Shopbop models from Russia and the Ukraine. On Aug. 11, there will be another feature on Lubov Azria and her vacation style tips. Shopbop has also picked up the line by Russian designer Vika Gazinskaya. Free shipping will be available with purchases over $100 and 24-hour customer service in Russian available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shopbop does not disclose sales figures, but asked who the competition is in Russia, Penick said, “We recognize that online-only players just as much as core department stores have been paying attention more and more to the global customer. We look at Russia as one of the markets where that tends to be quite consistent. Our focus is more on engagement and continuing to do things better with surprise and delight. We look at language as one of the ways that we can really make it easy to engage more customers in that country that may not be as comfortable shopping in English.”