JD Sports, Ted Baker launch discount sites


Everybody loves a bargain-especially in a recession. Little
wonder, then, that several retailers recently launched discount
websites.

Through its Topgrade Sportswear subsidiary, JD Sports in March
launched GettheLabel.com, which sells discounted branded apparel.
Liz McNamara, head of marketing at GettheLabel, says the business
will sell primarily online, though it is supported by a print
catalogue. Approximately 1 million 20-page recruitment catalogues
will be inserted into mainstream media, including Chat
and Closer magazines, through May. Once GettheLabel has
established a customer base, a larger book-possibly 48 pages or
so, McNamara hints-will mail in the autumn. Overall, McNamara
anticipates mailing four or five main catalogue editions a year.

Online, GettheLabel is using pay-per-click advertising to drive
traffic to its website. It has also been working on its search
optimisation, and “we’re looking at affiliate activity in
the next quarter,” adds McNamara, though she needs to wait
until “meaningful” customer demographics and
statistics are established before going any further. “We
are still analysing the shopper profile and just finding our
feet,” she says.

At the more upscale end of the market, last month etailer
Net-a-Porter.com went live with TheOutnet.com, which sells last
season’s designer fashion at up to 60 percent off. Thanks in part
to promotion on Net-a-Porter and a PR blitz, TheOutnet had more
than 150,000 registered users before it even officially launched.

For its discount website, Ted’s Shed, fashion brand Ted Baker
teamed up with discount apparel cataloguer M and M Direct. The
home page of M and M, which operates Ted’s Shed on behalf of Ted
Baker, features a link to the new site, but the Ted Baker home
page doesn’t, which suggests that the designer does not want its
brand affiliated too closely with the discount site.

Granted, some migration of customers from the full-price offer to
the discount website is inevitable, says Iain MacDonald,
principal of mail order consultancy Casa Consulting. “The
plan must be to win on volume from the cheaper end and hopefully
trade those buyers to the main brand over time,” he
explains. “Whether affected personally or not, the
marketplace is a bit fearful just now and wondering about every
unnecessary expense, so giving shoppers a way to access
well-known brands by the back door seems an excellent
ploy.”

The recent launches, MacDonald adds, “illustrate both the
entrepreneurial nature of the retailers involved and the
flexibility of online trading. So many direct and store retailers
fail to move quickly enough to capture the mood of the market
and, sometimes, to solve their internal business issues. What
could be better right now than being in tune with the customer
and moving stock to release cash?”

Published: 5th May 2009

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