Bricks and mortar stores dominate the womans wear searches online

The latest research from stickyeyes, the digital marketing agency, indicates that social media and search marketing is being dominated by top department stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser. This research indicates the domination of these brands in the market due to their strong brand presence offline as well as a diverse portfolio of products, along with their ever increasing investment into e-commerce.

Despite having a low volume of traffic in social media, when compared to major players like Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and ASOS, they are still achieving a level of engagement with their customers that is proving to be highly effective.

The research, which focused on the period between October 2011 and March 2012, assessed 50 retailers across the top 100 online clothing retail keywords to identify the market leaders and their SEO, PPC and social strategies for achieving market share.

Phil McGuin, Head of Insight at Stickyeyes said: “Whilst the results of our latest study may seem surprising on initial inspection, especially considering the recent financial results announced by these retailers, it does of course make sense that those brands with economies of scale are better placed in the long-term to gain a solid footprint in the market.

Although niche retailers, such as those specialising in petite and larger size fashion feature prominently in their respective markets, on the whole they are being pushed out of the top 10 by department stores, supermarkets and online marketplaces such as Amazon and ebay in what is an immensely tight and competitive but extremely lucrative market”.

Key findings

Department stores and multi- channel retailers dominate search marketing and social media

Search remains at the forefront of retailers’ online mix and continues to be the staple diet of acquisition. Success in this market is centred on building a blended strategy across all keyword categories including brand, generic fashion, product and gender. This explains why department stores and multi-channel retailers who have a diverse product portfolio are dominating the research findings.

Brand volume comprises over half of all search volumes and plays a significant role in last click conversion

54% of all brand volume comes from just six retailers with Marks & Spencer having the largest share. The other players include John Lewis, Next, New Look, Debenhams and ASOS. However, 46% of the search market is non-brand related and a strong presence within this area allows smaller and niche retailers to compete directly with larger brands in their respective keyword markets.

No single operator dominates all the top womenswear generic phrases

With space so tight in these keyword markets no-one single operator dominates all the top womenswear generic phrases. Overall click share of generic women’s clothing and fashion terms is closely contested between Boohoo (14.31% click share) and ASOS (13.82%) whilst Amazon and ebay compete head-to-head with the top fashion brands for a large number of longtail phrases such as leggings, accessories and knitwear.

ASOS is the only retailer which features in the top 10 for all markets analysed

ASOS is the only retailer who has the broadest keyword coverage and is especially prominent in the skirts sub-vertical with wholesale dominance of the rankings (20.91% click share) as well as the knitwear category (16.44% organic click share).

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