Online is here to stay.

By Lance O'Grady

Online is here to stay. No one worries the internet is going to stop being a thing, and yet many retailers are approaching the entire digital space with a level of trepidation that suggests they think one day it’s all going to vanish in a puff of smoke.

Brands that embrace digital, and invest time and energy into areas that will help grow their business by keeping it relevant in an increasingly digital world are the ones nailing it.

As a simple test, think about a few brands you know that are ‘killing it’. It’s a safe bet that they all have the most seamless online experience, or at the very least you can see they are investing time, energy and money into their online presence. Some names that come to mind for me are I love ugly, Superette, Lonely Lingerie, Lewis Road Creamery. These brands have been very clever in the way they’ve positioned themselves and where they’ve spent money.

I love ugly have spent a huge amount of time (and money) creating a brand that’s worth following. That includes their social media, their ambassadors, their website (which has something new every time you go back) and their online/instore integration, which have all been carefully considered and executed. The same can be said of Superette, who as a retailer is continuously trying to push their experience further than any other player in the market.

Lonely Lingerie have created a social following that’s responsive and actively involves their customers in the brand. This didn’t just happen by accident. Lonely created this, and stuck to their guns to make sure it grew into the platform it is today.

Lewis Road Creamery – I don’t think I even need to explain what they’ve done in the last 12 months.

I think it’s fair to say there’s a strong, tangible link between the amount a brand invests online and the success of their business. So what are you waiting for?

Obviously, it’s not just about throwing money at online and hoping it works. A few key fundamentals need to be in place to ensure you actually get somewhere. These include:

  • A well thought out brand, philosophy and product/service offering.
  • A clear (or somewhat clear) strategy of where the brand is heading.
  • A defined (or at least somewhat defined) customer base.
  • Enough energy, resource and money to sustain the investment into digital.

The last point is critical. Due to the ever-changing nature of digital, investing some money once and assuming that solitary investment alone will carry you for years to come is a complete waste of time. You need to be ready to invest regularly into digital, changing with it, rather than playing catch up every 12 months (which, by the way, is far more costly).

‘Digital’ is a scary word. But brands that can’t keep up, or worse, aren’t even embracing digital, are probably already finding themselves in a tricky situation. Add another 12 months to that, and I fear some businesses won’t make it through.

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