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It is a well acknowledged fact that the UK high street isn’t as strong as it once was. Being able to shop online from the comfort of your own home has a range of benefits that make it superior to shopping in store. Not only does online browsing mean you avoid wasting time ambling from shop to shop, but it also offers you more products, often at better prices.

The data so far

These major benefits of online shopping help to explain why footfall on the UK highstreet is down by 6% overall, with fashion retail brands affected the most.

However, we still don’t consider online shopping as the only way to shop. According to a retail fashion report by agency Pi Datametrics, many consumers may conduct research online before making an instore purchase, or try clothes on instore before making their final purchase online.

Furthermore, research by Kinase Digital shows that 65% of in-store purchases were influenced by previous digital activity. When it comes to getting the best deal consumers are anything but lazy.

Bricks and mortar isn’t such a shaky foundatioN

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The findings by Pi Datametrics show that many high street retailers who have an online presence are maintaining strong performances. In some cases, they are outperforming online-only retailers. Next, Debenhams, New Look, House of Fraser, Sports Direct, River Island, Marks & Spencer and Superdry, who have both brick and mortar and online presence, take up eight of the top 12 positions for keywords ‘womenswear’ and ‘menswear’. All of these brands managed to maintain a top 12 share of voice position in the sector in the time period covered in the research by Pi Datametrics.

It could be said that these shops benefit from their brick and mortar locations by allowing loyal followers to enjoy the in-store experience while still targeting new audiences online. However they’ve done it, it certainly shows that these shops are offsetting disappointing trends in footfall by pushing their online offering - and other brands desperately need to do the same.

Indeed, the value of the UK online fashion market has been forecasted to rise to £29bn. This means there are plenty of opportunities in this sector and enough room for online-only brands to take a good slice of the action. ASOS, who have always been associated with being a fast-fashion powerhouse, actually saw quite a significant drop in organic search results in the first part of 2018. Pi Datametrics points out that this ‘leaves huge opportunity for other online stores to expand’ and we would be inclined to agree. But how?

How online fashion retailers can win the top spots

Brands with high street stores benefit in that they have a good brand presence. There is also a lot of awareness of the brand both in and outside of their target audiences, as they are usually household names. Moreover, their brand engagement is aided by the fact their staff are able to interact directly with customers and build a rapport. However, with footfall dropping year on year, it’s clear that the online presence of these brands is a major factor in their success.

If online-only brands want to overthrow these retail giants they need to work hard to hone in on their target audience, consolidate their brand and establish a loyal following. Our work with Brand Attic helped to establish them as competitors in a saturated market. They wanted to us to help grow their brand presence as well as increase their traffic and sales. We knew how important it was that their name be more well-known amongst their target audience.

To achieve this we established a PPC campaign and used supplementary display ads to increase their brand awareness. We then worked on establishing trust for the brand by getting prominent bloggers and influencers to review products. We took advantage of any PR opportunities that arose and ran data capture alongside our campaign to build an email database for the brand. The overall outcome of our work helped to drive a 151% increase in traffic. Coverage for Brand Attic was achieved in such publications as Shortlist magazine, The Daily Mail and The Only Way Is Essex. As a result, their revenue increased by 1030%.

Some more examples of our previous work can be seen here, but if you’d like to find out more specifically what we can do for you then give us a call on 0161 390 0125. Our team can provide you with further information about the services we offer and how we think these will benefit you.