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Editor's Comment: The digital journey is now business critical

Keely Stocker

Few fashion businesses can survive in the current market without a strong digital proposition.

primark skinny screenshot

primark skinny screenshot

Competition in the market has increased exponentially as multichannel retailers fight to keep up with their pureplay counterparts. Even Primark, which has so far stuck firmly to its non-transactional online approach, invests in its content-led digital platform, and uses social channels to generate engagement and brand advocates. 

We’ve witnessed what can happen to businesses that fail to evolve their digital offer. Last week, New Look revealed that its own website sales were down 15% year on year for the 39 weeks to 23 December, contributing to an overall drop in sales.

Digital is such an integral part of the customer journey – and one that is evolving at a rapid pace, as new technologies continually come to the market.

The digital start-up community is huge. The challenge for retailers is to decipher which businesses can assist them in their digital growth. The choice can be overwhelming: the key is to ensure what retailers do digitally fits into their overall strategy, rather than jumping on the bandwagon of every innovation.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and visual search are beginning to transform the customer experience, but this must not come at the cost of a seamless multichannel experience. Having a single view of customer and stock can have an extremely positive impact on sales. Those retailers building an agile structure will be set for long-term, sustainable advancements in the digital arena.

In celebration of those already achieving in this sector, this week we announce the Drapers Digital Awards 2018 shortlist. These are the businesses really pushing the digital boundaries, whether by using new technologies in store, launching an engaging digital marketing campaign or creating a seamless multichannel customer experience. They have put digital innovation at the forefront of their strategies while keeping their focus on the customer and product, giving them the competitive edge.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner, which will take place during the Drapers Digital Festival in London on 26 April. To book, go to 

Readers' comments (2)

  • Andrew McGarry

    Attribution is the new 'year of mobile'. Your in-house team needs to be skilled in this or else you leave your brand at the mercy of handing over everything to an agency and hoping everything will be ok.

    Ecom Directors and managers not qualified in Google Analytics (or the alt vendor options) have only themselves to blame.

    What's YOUR most profitable user journey? Or are you still looking at last click only metrics while your rivals race past...

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  • darren hoggett

    Certainly from an Indie point of view you do need people who know what they are doing and tech savvy, but there are limits to what one can achieve and that cannot be overstated. How much are you prepared to invest online? What do you want out of it? Sales for the sake of it with a race to the bottom, or a more measured, quality approach that complements you store?

    Having 'quality' sales as opposed to 'cheap' sales is the future, as you can work with the right brands that you can earn margin online and work with the right ones you can earn margin in store. They may not be the same, so more time should be spent on this approach rather than getting to the top of Google.

    Don't get bogged down by chasing it and going for sales at any price - It is an unsustainable model that distracts from where the money really is.

    It's a question of priorities with the resources you have available.

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