The WWD Digital Forum, which took place on 10 July 2014, brought together top executives across fashion, beauty and retail industries to address the most pertinent issues businesses face in this ever-evolving digital landscape.
In this first recap, Euromonitor International assesses the differing online strategies of two iconic brands: the grand dame of the British high street, Marks and Spencer’s, and the crème de la crème of French luxury skincare, Clarins.
Marks and Spencer’s: e-boutiques and editor’s picks
According to Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, Executive Director of Marketing and Business Development at Marks and Spencer’s, size can sometimes be a liability. With a fleet the size of Marks & Spencer’s, which counted 798 UK stores and 455 international stores as of July 2014, adopting and rolling out new technologies is no easy feat.
This isn’t to say efforts aren’t being made. As part of its return to the Dutch market, the retailer launched its first e-boutique on Amsterdam’s prestigious Kalverstraat. Alongside a highly edited selection of products, the store features a ‘virtual rail’ which lets customers browse through items on a touchscreen. The goal is two-fold: minimising required store space by providing access to the full inventory online, while strengthening the omnichannel concept by integrating digital aspects into the physical space.
It has become a universally acknowledged fact that a fashion e-commerce site can no longer simply be an online shop, but rather, a shoppable magazine. M&S.com has embraced this philosophy wholeheartedly in the latest iteration of its website. Editorial content is not a simple embellishment, but inextricably linked to the shopping process. Bousquet-Chavanne says its daily publishing strategy gives the retailer a point of differentiation, drives frequency of visits, and makes customers 24% more likely to convert. The edited point of view cuts through the clutter and relieves customers from the paralysis of choice.