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Brands out-compete online despite a low number of stores

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We’re delighted to present a second in a series of studies of store location analysis. The research focused on the largest multichannel retailers in the UK that have a comparable number of consumers living within a short distance of a store and measured the impact of these factors on their website traffic figures.

Leading multichannel brands’ online presence is disproportional to their offline footprint, reveals a new study researched in collaboration with InternetRetailing knowledge partner Geoblink .

Adidas, an Elite brand in IRBX Top500 research, operates 23 physical stores. More than 14 million British consumers live within a 15-minute walk from a physical store and who visit the brand’s website at least once per annum. Whereas Asda, a grocer with 269 branches and 98 million customers on its side, is only 15% ahead of its rival in web traffic figures, with 16 million page views over the same 12-month period.

The picture is the same when it comes to a competitive battle between Clarks (brand) and Next (third-party retailer) for consumers’ loyalty. Clarks has 137 stores, with more than 8 million customers within the measured radius. The brand enjoys more than 53 million web page views per annum from UK consumers, according to research by InternetRetailing knowledge partners Hitwise and SimilarWeb. Next, in comparison, receives 16 million page views each year, despite having 753 stores that are within a 15 minute walk of more than 25 million unique customers.

Retailer UK stores Customers within a 15 minute walk Page views per annum (UK) Type
Adidas 23 14 million 14 million Brand
Asda 269 98 million 16 million Third-party retailer
Clarks 137 8 million 53 million Brand
Next 753 25 million 16 million Third-party retailer

Data on demographics within a distance of the stores comes from knowledge partner Geoblink, which provided information on scores of Top500 retailers. Data on web traffic comes from knowledge partners Hitwise and SimilarWeb , which measure the entire Top500.

The results imply that the relationship between offline visibility, prominence and shopping does not translate to the same thing online where retailers experience competition from companies that do not own physical real estate near the consumer.

Some brands that lack the physical connection to the community will compensate by drawing on a heritage as a manufacturer or product label, and leverage this to sell directly to consumers via ecommerce. Some third-party retailers such as Asda, in contrast, rely on product assortments that require a more frequent purchase and therefore it is not so vulnerable to competing brands and labels as retailers in other sectors.

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