The future of retail: how to create a strategy that sells

british highstreet

It’s no surprise that the last 12 months have been tough for the retail industry, with 2020 being the year pretty much everything was cancelled, shopping trends have changed, with consumers spending less on getting dressed up, and physical stores hit hard as more consumers shopped online. A recent report found that on the UK high street more than one in seven shops are now empty

With these changes, it can be challenging for brands to create a strategy that guarantees results. Thanks to our Retail and Fashion indexes we have been able to track a range of retail and fashion brands over the last few months and we’ve seen some interesting results. Below we take a deeper look at their digital strategies highlighting what other brands can learn from others. 

Retail

M&S 

Over the last five months, Marks and Spencer scores in our retail index have been consistently keeping them in third place in the rankings. However recently we’ve seen the brand’s scores shoot up, pushing the brand into second place and overtaking ASOS (another brand that has stayed relatively consistent).

This boost is down to the retailer improving their content score by almost 20 points. As a well-established brand that is regularly offering new products especially with the change of seasons, this is hardly surprising. The brand has over 840,000 pages indexed and using a digital strategy that includes very active social media accounts, they are able to promote the brand and their products with multiple benefits.

retail pages indexed

Debenhams

On the other hand, Debenhams is a brand in our retail index that has seen a sharp decline over the last couple of months. Their index score has fallen 5.7 points in the latest update and pushed them down the rankings 10 places. 

Following boohoo’s purchase of the brand the business has been shutting stores and following changes to the website in late April, which judging by their visibility might not have been so successful.

debenhams visibility

Also recently we found the business name showing as ‘Delivery’ when the retailer is Googled. 

debenhams google

Fashion

PrettyLittleThing

Fashion brand PrettyLittleThing has developed a reputation for providing customers with the latest trends at an affordable price. Their celebrity collaborations and endorsements have been a huge help in increasing their brand awareness and reaching new audiences.  In our recent update, PLT has gained 28 points alone for their links strategy, which has pushed them up the rankings. 

Pairing this strategy with a highly active social media strategy helps the brand to stay ahead of the competition and continue to climb the Embryo index.

Net-a-Porter

Luxury brand Net-a-Porter has consistently stayed within the top 10 of our Fashion Index, however recently their score has been on the decline and in the latest update, it fell a further 2.6 points. 

Looking into this decline it appears their keyword reach is to blame, which will be having a big impact on the success of their digital strategy. As the graph below shows, Net-a-Porter has less than a quarter of organic keywords compared to Marks and Spencer. 

organic keywords 3 1

 

From our quick analysis we’ve identified five key takeaways that can help strengthen a retailer’s digital strategy: 

  • The industry will keep changing. Therefore, brands should be prepared for this by regularly reviewing their marketing channels and strategies, in order to keep up with the changing trends and needs of consumers. 
  • Content is really important. Brands can benefit from engaging and detailed product descriptions that make good use of keywords. 
  • When making changes to websites, brands should be prepared for SEO changes. Having a thorough SEO strategy that is implemented alongside development work can ensure visibility isn’t lost. 
  • Being consistent on social media will keep an audience engaged and continue to build a brand’s awareness, which is essential in this highly competitive industry. 
  • Overall by using a strategy that encompasses multiple channels brands can increase their success, and opportunities to reach a wider audience.

If you’d like to find out more about digital strategies for fashion brands then take a look at this report by our MD Ross Green.