M&S has announced that its online international operations will expand to over 100 markets as it launches in 46 new countries, nearly doubling the number of international markets where it has a pureplay online presence.
The expansion forms part of the group’s focus to “turbocharge” its online business under its Never the Same Again transformation programme.
It also marks the next stage in M&S’ commitment to drive international growth through online channels at pace under its recently established online, digital and data division, MS2.
It comes as the group has seen a surge in its online business, reporting a 75% increase in international e-commerce sales in its latest interim results, underlining the recent shift in online customer spend throughout the pandemic.
The launch of 46 new international flagship websites, which offer customers in these markets a broad range of M&S’ Clothing and Home products, gives M&S “immediate and cost effective access to new online markets”, according to the group.
It adds that insight from its UK focused website indicates strong underlying demand from these territories, which the retailer is now able to explore “without significant upfront investment”.
The group has used a low cost approach to facilitate the expansion, which combines an adaptable website platform specifically designed for its international business and customers, with orders from these websites fulfilled through M&S’ established distribution network.
Its international online channels are also available in ten additional languages and a wider range of currencies. The group said that by giving customers a more localised online experience, sales increase “significantly”.
Paul Friston, international director said: “Our international business has seen strong online growth since the start of the pandemic as increasing numbers of customers choose to shop through our range of flagship websites.
“Under our Never the Same Again programme we’re focused on turbocharging our online business both in the UK and internationally, and as part of this we see a real opportunity in extending the number of countries where we run an online channel further.”
He added: “Launching in an additional 46 markets means we can now reach a number of new customers who can purchase online with M&S for the first time and receive our fantastic M&S products in a few short clicks, as well as enabling us to explore underlying demand in these markets without significant upfront investment.”