Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

Online branding strategies of UK fashion retailers

Rowley, Jennifer (2009) Online branding strategies of UK fashion retailers. Internet research, 19 (3). pp. 348-369. ISSN 1066-2243

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on exploratory research that aims to contribute to knowledge on online branding, and the way in which the online channel is being used to support brands. The focus of this research is the top multi-channel UK fashion retailers. Design/methodology/approach – Content analyses were performed on the web sites of a number of top fashion and clothing retailers, plus three supermarket chains with a strong presence in clothes retailing. An analysis of the extent to which the retailers were using their web site to provide online services and information provided a context for a more detailed analysis of online branding strategies, including communicating brand identity and presence, and building brand relationships. Findings – Most top “non-value” fashion retailers offer transactions through their web site, offering extended opportunities for brand engagement and experience. While all fashion retailers achieve consistency of visual identity between the online and other channels, their use of the online channel to communicate brand values, and to promote brand relationships is underdeveloped. There is evidence of some innovative practice, but also scope for considerable further development of the notion of online branding. Research into online and multi-channel branding has a role to play in supporting this process. Originality/value – This study makes an important contribution to the under-researched area of online branding, through a study of the online branding activities of top multi-channel UK fashion retailers.

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