Two of the high street’s biggest names stepped further into e-commerce last week, with Gap Inc and Zara upping their online presence.
Zara, a well-established fast fashion brand in Europe, told just-style it thought now was “the right time” to open an Internet store, having garnered millions of online followers through Facebook.
Gap, meanwhile, launched a dedicated e-commerce site aimed at Canadian consumers last week. The US retailer is aiming to make online shopping available in up to 65 countries, including dedicated services in Canada and the UK.
While the revenue benefits of going online are obvious, there are also clear marketing advantages to doing so. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow fashion brands to speak to consumers directly, and also listen to them.
It is worth noting that takings from an e-commerce store rarely exceed a large flagship owned by the same brand, but shoppers often begin their journey to the website by browsing online.
In other news last week, it was announced that UK music retailer HMV Group is to start selling men’s fashion. The CD and DVD retailer will add music-inspired brands including Boxfresh, Lee Jeans, FLY53, Rocawear and Eastpak from 1 September, as it looks to benefit from the strong influence musicians have on new trends.
In a coincidental twist, HMV chairman Robert Swannell was also appointed as Sir Stuart Rose’s replacement on the board of UK chain Marks and Spencer (M&S) last week.
The former investment banker, who guided M&S through a takeover attempt six years ago, will start as chairman on the 4 January 2011. Shareholder favourite Rose has not yet stated where his own future will lie.