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Online Heads to the High Street

E-commerce is fast becoming the priority for sales brands as Asos buys Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge and more high street stores face closure.


Online fashion retailer Asos confirmed on Monday 1st February that it is acquiring Arcadia’s Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands, allowing creditors to regain £300m from Phillip Green’s insolvent group.

Following a turbulent 2020 for high street retail, it is no surprise that e-commerce has won the battle against bricks and mortar for many brands. The online giants have already shown how effective they are versus the competition, and interestingly, Topshop and Topman sales grew faster on the Asos site than they did from Arcadia’s own e-commerce offerings, demonstrating that their online-only infrastructure has proved particularly effective.

But is this a trend we will see across other brands? We’ve recently seen popular online retailer Boohoo seal a deal for the Debenhams brand and website, and they’re also in negotiation with Arcadia to take over Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton Menswear.

There’s no doubt that not only the fashion industry has been hit hard by the pandemic with leisure and culture also suffering on a large scale. However, we have seen other categories particularly e-commerce taking full advantage of the lockdowns.

Consumers turned to online shopping amid physical retailers closing, with the likes of Amazon being the go-to retailer for anything from gardening tools to food shopping. As a result, the company increased their stock price by nearly 60% in January 2021 vs March 2020 (Source: Forbes) with the company expected to drive record sales potentially eclipsing the $350 billion mark.

With increased sales and visitors to the site, we have seen an introduction of tools such as Sellics. Whereby Amazon are providing sellers, vendors, and agencies with increased optimisation capabilities to further enhance sales and the consumer journey.

Amazon also provide the opportunity for brands to combine their content strategies to their ecommerce offering. For example, distributing content across Amazon Prime or just simply using creative within the Amazon DMP (their programmatic buying offering) to reach further consumers across other sites.

We have also seen select media owners jumping on the potential opportunities this trend is presenting to the market, with known partners such as Captify introducing new shoppable formats that allow brands to power their e-commerce strategy with live search behaviour. Similarly, popular app TikTok now allows users to click through to purchase items seen in their short form content.

So, with no clear end in sight for the current lockdown, it is imperative that your brand optimises towards an e-commerce-led sales strategy, whether that happens through key retailer partners already in place, or with the introduction of your own e-commerce channel.

We would be very happy to schedule a virtual coffee with you to discuss your needs whether that be assistance on Amazon campaign management or supporting how you can maximise your current budgets online.