Marks & Spencer has reported a 22.7% increase in online sales in the three months to the end of December, though it wasn’t enough to prevent an overall decline in sales.
Like-for-like sales fell by 2.1%, though there was a small improvement over the last eight weeks of the year during which M&S launched a sale, with general merchandise sales up 0.5%.
M&S’s disappointing results come after Next achieved impressive sales figures over the festive season, with the latter reporting that in-store and online sales increased by 12% in the period November 1 to December 24.
John Lewis also had a record breaking end to 2013, reporting that online sales for the five weeks to 28 December were 22.6% up on last year with johnlewis.com accounting for 31.8% of the total John Lewis business during this period.
Having previously examined the reasons behind John Lewis’ continued success in ecommerce, I thought I’d compare Next and M&S’s approaches to online retail.
Jeans are apparently the most difficult item of clothing to buy online, according to a new consumer survey.
Almost a third of shoppers (29.5%) identified jeans as the trickiest product to buy, followed by shoes/footwear with 18.2%.
There were also a number of bizarre responses to the open-ended question, including Appalachian dance outfits and Elizabethan ruff, however it's safe to assume that the customer experience of buying jeans is a more pressing concern for most online fashion retailers.
Fashion retailer Next today announced some very positive results for the half year to July 2013, with 2.2% sales growth to £1.7bn.
As you might expect, online played a big part, with Next Directory sales growing by 8.3% to £597.6m, while profits were 13.4% higher at £156.1m.
I've been looking at the Next website to pick out some of the reasons for its success online, and some areas where it could still improve.
This time last year I looked at the mobile sites for the UK’s top 20 retailers to see which offered the best checkout process.
I found that there were a number of common flaws, such as forced registration, but in general the standard was quite high.
However I was also surprised to see that eight of the retailers were still relying on desktop sites.
As 12 months has now passed I thought it would be interesting to see whether the situation had changed at all and find out which retailers have made an effort to upgrade their sites.
Video sharing app Vine turned 100 days old last week and according to new research it has proved to be quite the success.
Data from Unruly shows that five Vine clips are shared every second on Twitter and branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than branded online videos.
It’s also interesting to note that weekends are the most popular time to share Vines and in most cases they are more popular than all the previous weekdays combined.
We’ve previously looked at fashion brands and football teams that have begun using Vine, as well as highlighting both good and bad uses of the platform.
Twitter's Vine launched to much fanfare at the beginning of the year and brands have been quick to experiment with the video sharing tool to both promote their products and generally have a bit of fun.
Unfortunately too many brands seem to think that just because it’s a throwaway six-second clip they don’t have to put much effort into it, so the clips often end up looking quite messy and of poor quality.
Similarly the temptation is often to try and cram as much as you can into the short time frame, which can make it difficult to work out what's going on in the clip.
In my opinion, the best examples use a single continuous clip or motion capture so the viewer doesn't have to try and take in several different camera angles in just six seconds. I would suggest that unless there's a particuarly pressing need, Vines should be limited to around three of four different shots otherwise it can dilute the impact.
Furthermore, it's a good idea to mount the phone on something so that the video doesn't look too shaky.
According to a recent report three quarters of the worlds top brands have Google+ pages, with a combined following of more than 20 million fans.
This is a massive 9,400% increase since December 2011 when only 222,000 people followed them collectively.
But while writing a recent series of posts looking at how some of the world’s top brands use social I noticed that the amount of effort put into their G+ pages massively varies, while user interaction with content and posts is almost non-existent.
So to find out whether this is a common theme, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the UK’s top 20 online retailers use G+ and the levels of engagement that they achieve.
Just to clarify, this post isn’t about the SEO benefits of G+ or the potential for +1s to become more important in future, it’s an evaluation of how brands use G+ and how their fans respond...
Responsive design is a hot topic in web design at the moment, as it allows site owners to tailor content to any sized screen from a single set of code - which is obviously very useful as the mobile web continues to grow in popularity.
Yet it’s still quite difficult to find examples of retailers that have embraced the technology.
This is particularly true among the top retailers that tend cling to their existing mobile sites and apps rather than going responsive.
Though responsive design is an all-encompassing way of building your site rather than a mobile strategy per se, for the purposes of this post I thought it would be interesting to look at which of the top 20 UK retailers use responsive design compared to those who have a separate mobile site.
Here’s what I found out...
It's been a slow week for marketing stats, but even so here are some of the best we've seen.
Stats include Boxing Day ecommerce traffic, mobile sales and conversions from Affiliate Window, a record week for app downloads and sales data from John Lewis, Amazon and Next.
For more digital marketing stats, check out our Internet Statistics Compendium.
To coincide with the end of London’s AW12 Fashion Week, Epiphany has released a study that looks at the most visible fashion brands in the UK according to search results.
Using data from five sub-sectors of keywords (fashion, clothing, dresses, jeans and outerwear), the company examined link profiles and tracked which brand appeared in relation to ‘key terms’ for the industry.
When considering PPC, it found clear evidence that fifteen of the thirty-five advertisers featured in the report were running significant campaigns that were regularly running out of budget well before the end of the day.