Earlier this year, I listed ten well known high street retailers that weren't selling online, despite the obvious benefits of doing so.

I calculated (roughly) that these companies were missing out on potential revenues of between £8m and £1.35bn for the sake of setting up an e-commerce operation.

Six months later, online retail is still growing, and the reasons for selling online are just as valid, so I've taken a look to see where these companies are now with their e-commerce strategies...

Still not selling online

  • H&M sells online in a few European countries, but still hasn't announced plans to do so in the UK, a large market for the company. A Flash-filled website that starts playing audio at you is all UK visitors will see. Not cool.
  • Despite being one of the most well-known and successful shoe retailers offline in the UK, Clarks remains one of the biggest e-commerce refuseniks.

    Telephone ordering is available, but this is not good enough, nor is the Flash website which is not only a usability nightmare but also, as it opens in a new window, will fall foul of many popup blockers. About as bad as it gets.

  • Claire's accessories is pretty successful on the high street, but still seems to have no plans to move into online retail.
  • Department store retailer Fenwicks still has no e-commerce site. Perhaps department stores don't work so well online? Then again, Selfridges is planning to roll out a transactional internet store... (see below).
  • Oddly, while rivals Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda all sell online with some success, both Morrisons and Somerfield have yet to launch an e-commerce site, though Somerfield did have one which closed in 2000.

    Morrisons uses its website to advertise its latest offers and provide general information, while Somerfield lets you browse through its products and add them to a shopping list, which you can then print off and take to the store.

Planning to sell online

  • Last time I looked, Jigsaw was displaying its clothing range online, but orders could only be placed by telephone. Now it has announced a move into e-commerce, and a new site is due to be launched soon.
  • Homeware retailer Habitat displays its collection online, but still hasn't launched an e-commerce offering in the UK. Habitat seems to be cautiously dipping its toe into the water, with an e-commerce trial on its French site. We think Habitat would do really well online as the brand appeals to discerning buyers who aren't that price sensitive. Come on Habitat!
  • Selfridges does sell a limited range of its goods online, such as hampers and perfume, but it is planning a full e-commerce launch.

    The company isn't rushing into online retail; it plans to launch a transactional website in 2010.

Launched a transactional website

  • Spanish retail group Inditex, which owns the Zara brand, has recently launched a nifty new website selling its homeware range, which is at least a good start.

    Shoppers looking for Zara's clothing range online will be disappointed though, as a Flash website (this is clearly a trend) displaying the latest collection is all they will find.

Related research:
E-commerce: A Beginner's Guide
E-commerce Platforms Buyer's Guide 2007

Related articles:
The future challenges of online retail - delivery
Don't lose a sale 

Graham Charlton

Published 16 September, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (8)

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Andrew Nesbitt

Andrew Nesbitt, Developer at Forward Internet Group

http://www.primark.co.uk/ don't have an online store either

almost 10 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

Thanks Andrew - missed that one. Terrible website too.

almost 10 years ago


Mark Jones

Your missed this one - Baronjon are launching their brand new website in a months time

almost 10 years ago

Giles Colborne

Giles Colborne, Managing Director at cxpartners

Gap aren't trading online - at least not in the UK. I'd love to know why.

almost 10 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at SaleCycle

That is a mystery Giles, especially for such a well known brand. I think Gap has been very slow to get its act together online. Until its recent revamp (http://www.e-consultancy.com/news-blog/365717/site-review-gap-com-revamp.html), its US site was poor, but at least it had one.

almost 10 years ago

Jay Gohil

Jay Gohil, Senior Online Marketing Manager at borro.com

I bet in one years time majority of the retailers mentioned here that are currently not selling online would eventually start doing so. Obvious absentee from this would be Primark.

Even product brands have recently started to launch transactional sites. Examples include - Hugo Boss, GHD. This trend will continue...

almost 10 years ago



What about Benetton?  This is another shop notable by it's absence.

over 8 years ago



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about 8 years ago

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