Once organizational products are manufactured, the next step entails taking them to their point of sale, namely distribution. In the European market, Ghauri and Cateora assert, ‘the A&F chain plays on the limited number of stores, and therefore products (exclusive distribution) attract a young target that looks for brands that have not become too common.’ The company favors the opening of stores in prestigious cities across all its operational areas internationally. Exploring the exclusive distribution policy implies that A&F deploys the most extreme mechanism of selective distribution. Under the approach, only one distributor is utilized in a particular geographical area. In the stores, A&F only stocks its products and not any other competing brand.
Exclusive distribution is important since it helps in mitigating the problem of counterfeits. Consumers must travel to only one distribution center to access the products. Few distribution centers that deal exclusively with A&F products ensure that consumers cannot mistake the company’s brand with other competing brands since it is the only brand on offer. However, this strategy introduces some challenges. Young consumers traveled to the US to purchase A&F products before opening stores in Europe. According to Ghauri and Cateora, successful marketing of the brand depends on a ‘positive image that is associated with the USA in the casual wear domain (country of origin ‘made-in’ effect) and New York City (as a trendy, fashionable city).’ This claim implies that when the European consumers went to the US, they were sure to bring home a unique product that had a link with New York fashion. Thus, the flooding of New York’s stores was attributed to the uniqueness of the product and its relationship with the New York metropolitan. However, introducing new stores in Europe erodes this uniqueness, as evidenced by the case of Melanie.
Melanie visited and bought A&F’s product in the US. On returning to Düsseldorf, he was to wear the product first. When he later found other people wearing the same product, he was happy to share the American experience with them. Although he went to Copenhagen to buy more clothes, the availability of products in Europe became commonplace. Hence, they are currently less attractive. When he visited the store again, he never bought anything. Therefore, for this consumer and others, exclusive distribution of the product was not his main reason for purchasing the products. Rather, Germany’s association with the country of origin and the limited nature of the products in the country (Germany) were instrumental in influencing his buying decisions.
An internationalization strategy leads to a reduction of A&F’s brand from an exclusive product that is meant for prestigious wear to for-all-wear products. In this context, the company should consider changing its exclusive distribution policy to intensive distribution. Under this distribution, consumers choose another brand when their preferred make is not available. With the availability of the products in the European market, if Melanie wants to wear A&F products when he is far from the stores, he can buy alternative brands since the A&F brand now no longer has an American experience. Since the goal of the company involves selling more products for optimal profitability, it is important to focus on mass-selling through intensive distribution.