We should all perhaps take a moment to think about the sad news and announcement of the collapse of the once High Street giant, Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group a few weeks ago.
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The Arcadia Group which includes household names Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, has sadly collapsed, putting around 13,000 jobs at risk. The group, which has more than 500 stores across the UK, fell into administration after a last-minute multi million-pound rescue deal involving Mike Ashley’s Fraser Group fell through over the weekend. Yes, it can be said, and we also agree in part that the current COVID19 Pandemic has not helped but we feel strongly that their downfall is truly an example of not utilising the hundreds of online resources available to them and understanding how paramount an online presence is today for any business.
We also feel that this direct lack of investment in digital platforms by Arcadia was also a leadership and cultural style problem. Truly not understanding the modern-day customer spending habits and the diverse changes in the market – perhaps even misjudged arrogances. The consumer wants options and choice! Once Arcadia realised this, it had become almost impossible for the businesses impacted to measure up to the ever-increasing competition from younger firms such as Pretty Little Thing, Asos and Boohoo. They didn’t adapt to the current situation and it has been said that this could have been the final nail in the coffin for Topshop and the rest.
Here is NAM’s short 3 Point Guide to help you in the right direction and evaluate your online presence:
As we all know an online presence is your gateway to direct interactions with your audience. You’re branding and colour scheme should be consistent across all platforms to ensure brand recognition.
Websites are essential for your business to stay current and relevant. This can be the very first impression a potential customer/client sees so it is extremely important to stay on brand. The very first and most important step in building your website is deciding what the main purpose of your website is. Use ecommerce to allow your customers to purchase your products. On the other hand, you may just need to educate and inform your audience on your business which is equally as valid. Don’t feel like you have to spend huge amounts of money to make a really fancy site. Focus on the functionality and ease of use first to ensure your users receive the best possible experience. Then as your budget increases, you can develop the site to become more visually appealing.
Social Media platforms are a mostly free way to target specific audiences. They are free to set up so it’s a no brainer – even just to introduce your business, state your contact details and link to your website. The best thing to do when starting a new social media account is researching your competitors – yes definitely view their pages to see the sort of content they post. What type of content gets the most engagements (likes, comments, shares)? Once you start posting, dedicate some time to engaging with your customers and clients e.g. replying to comments on your posts and even commenting on their posts, helping increase brand awareness. On top of free content, you can pay to ‘boost’ your posts which allows the post to reach a larger audience.
Other online applications to consider are Mailchimp for running email campaigns and connecting with your audience to promote and advertise your products and services. Mailchimp has a built-in design function that allows you to create your own templates (changing colours, images, text etc.). Although you are limited by the free account, you can still store up to 2000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month, with a daily send limit of 2,000. You could also consider writing blogs such as this one which can be sent via Mailchimp and uploaded onto your website.
Once your online platforms are set up, it is very important to monitor analytics. Measuring the success of your campaigns using analytics, outlines both positives and areas of improvement on your platforms. Facebook has a built-in analytics feature that monitors engagements on posts, page likes and how many people the posts reach, to name a few. You can also use this feature to perform a comparison between your own page and your competitors.
So perhaps the great lesson to be learnt from the sad news, is to be developing your business to the market requirements and understand consumer needs and spending habits. An online audit is the key!