November 14, 2007, 12:00 AM

Timberland reaches across the Atlantic for new markets

Outdoor apparel and shoe manufacturer and multi-channel retailer Timberland is expanding into the United Kingdom – for starters -- and looking to grow its domestic business while framing its image.

The Timberland Co. Inc. rolled out a United Kingdom web site in October, the company’s first foray into international waters. Although the U.K. site had to be built from scratch, it won’t be the last foreign outpost, says Troy Brown, senior director of e-commerce and general manager. “The U.K. site gives us a platform for expansion.”

The U.K. version was in the planning stages for months, but the build stage took only from June 1 to Oct. 1 and was crafted on an e-commerce platform from Demandware. The UK site has a different appearance from the U.S. site and will serve as a model for the domestic site’s redesign sometime in 2008. In the U.S. Timberland utilizes GSI Commerce Inc. as a third-party e-commerce platform provider.

On the home front, Timberland.com recently launched a gift guide feature enabling visitors to view top-selling footwear styles and to see a shoe or boot “unwrap” and “wrap” onscreen. But the company is about more than manufacturing and selling outdoor gear, Brown says. It’s about taking a position as an eco-friendly business.

Timberland, No. 331 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also published its first print and online catalogs, one for the back-to-school season and one for holiday shopping. The catalogs promote the company’s expanding array of products, including apparel and accessories such as hats and purses. More important, they promote Timberland’s image. “The catalog helps drive business to stores and to the web site,” Brown says. “But we didn’t start the catalog to be a money-maker; it’s a brand-builder.”

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