Long Tall Sally Takes Leap Across Pond

Tall gals take heart: Long Tall Sally, a U.K.-based multichannel apparel merchant geared toward tall women, is coming to America next month.

The company plans to mail a version of its Christmas catalog to about 50,000 people in the U.S. It will fulfill orders from Long Tall Sally’s warehouse in Croydon (greater London), says managing director Andrew Shapin, but the company will use a U.S.-based call center and returns handling facility in Beverly, MA.

Founded in 1976, Long Tall Sally’s collection is designed for women 5-ft.-8 in. or taller, in sizes 10-20. The cataloger’s annual circulation in the U.K. is currently about 2 million, Shapin says. So what prompted the U.K. merchant to head to the U.S. market?

“We have shipped orders to 68 countries, just from customers finding our Website,” Shapin explains from his London office. The company has been doing a “decent” business in the U.S. despite not mailing catalogs, having a local phone number, or a facility for local returns.

What’s more, Shapin says, “our shipping charges have also been on the high side, and we have not done any proactive customer acquisition—despite the sophisticated targeting capabilities afforded by the U.S. collaboratives.” Given the customer demand, he adds, “we felt by removing the barriers, a large opportunity exists.”

The company also revamped its Website with the QuickLive Commerce Web platform. The new platform adds enhanced merchandising and promotional tools such as full-text search, interactive product recommendations and a user review system that allows customers to rate the products and the shopping experience.

Shapin says the site will relaunch in October in time to promote the Christmas catalog, which will be mailed in the U.S. to the company’s customer house file, as well as to rented lists.

The U.S. isn’t the only international market Long Tall Sally is eyeing. “Our U.S. test begins at the end of October, and we will concurrently go live with a Euro Website,” Shapin says. “Other specific markets will follow next year.”

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