11th June 2018 - No Comments!

The Decline of High Street Giants

We told you so. Retail giant House of Fraser is set to close 31 of its stores out of 59. It’s slowly following suite of Woolworths, BHS and most recently the demise of 90s kids favourite Toys R Us. Whilst customers still enjoy the store experience of trying on clothes and experiencing the product first-hand, the question is, why have HoF had to cut back so much when they once had such a large customer base?

The Customer Wasn’t Always First

For many, House of Fraser (HoF) has always been one of those stores you hate to go in, it’s confusing, it’s often times stressful and you’re left feeling disheartened from the entire shopping experience. HoF customer experience is limited, take department store mogul John Lewis. JL have recently implored a “concierge style” experience helping the customer plan their day, it also includes personal styling, specifically for men (who have a shop now, buy later habit) in over 21 stores across the UK.  Even in Topshop they’re bringing in guest DJ’s in order to turn your shopping experience into a little bit of party.

Department stores, like HoF haven’t changed in nearly 10, 20 years , shopping floors have not been updated nor has the range of products both online and offline. Fashion is a competitive market and having “okay” clothes are not good enough considering the fashion standards of ASOS and Zara who have savvy buyers who know what to do buy and when to buy it...a frock from HoF or a slip dress from Zara?



It’s a sad fact that so many businesses aren’t embracing the opportunities that come with having online channels. Merely have a gander at HoF instagram page , twitter and facebook accounts to note their poor content, lack of customer engagement and moreover their campaigns which are nowhere to be seen. Look at the online presence of ASOS, they’re modern, they don’t shy away from different, embracing all shapes and sizes, ethnicities and even serxual orientation. HoF have lost out big time regurgitating mediocre content and occasionally latching onto pop culture. There’s no push from online to the stores and vice versa. HoF didn’t share their brand purpose and ideas to the world and they fell short along with their Ecommerce experience. HoF site navigation is something that requires patience and a spa day shortly after purchase.

It’s the basics of online marketing, market knowledge and interesting content. John Lewis’ acknowledging men’s shopping habits, ASOS are consistently innovative and conscious of their target market, young millenials.  The department store ethos is merely the convenience of having everything in one place. New ethos: Having everything in place online. Researching and understanding what it is your customers want from you and understanding that the digital age is here to stay.

With HoF specifically, their problem fell into their lack of innovation, and old school department store habits. The same can be said for Toys R US, once a magical place for children and adults (think the piano scene in Big 1988), it slowly became a toy churning machine with zero customer experience and a tragic online presence.

Old brands don’t simply spring back to life. They need to be revived, rebuilt and massaged into the modern world. Find the right people to target, to talk to and watch your business grow.  This stewardship takes care, talent and passion – passion for what is past and for what is possible. We took note of this with a recent client, a 120 year old modern footwear brand, we established it’s online presence whilst staying true to what it once was. Get involved with the conversation. HoF was left behind, Debenhams is looking to follow suite shortly. They don’t know but their competitors.

If you would like to talk to us about ideas on how you can tap into your local customers, then here’s our email; matt@vastdigital.co.uk


Published by: Vast Digital in Uncategorised

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