Marks & Spencer is targeting its online business to be at least as profitable as its stores division within three years.
Marks & Spencer multichannel ecommerce director Laura Wade-Gery revealed the ambition as the retailer launched a chain-wide in-store marketing campaign promoting, and inspired by, its relaunched website which it now regards as its flagship store.
The retailer is seeking to position itself as a single, multichannel business and win spend from the 19m of its 34m customers who shop its stores but do not buy from it online.
Wade-Gery did not detail how the shifting balance between bricks and clicks might affect margins but said the focus “is on the net profit the organisation makes”. M&S’s online business is profitable at present, she pointed out.
The in-store ‘Discover…’ campaign includes window displays devoted to the website and what it offers, as well as the promotion of looks from the Editor’s Pick section.
Marks & Spencer marketing and business development director Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne said it was the first time that the retailer has promoted the website so extensively in its shops and 2m paper copies of an M&S.com brochure will be distributed.
Marks & Spencer’s new website, featuring much more editorial content, launched in February after moving off Amazon’s platform to take charge of its own destiny online.
There has been little marketing of the site since as it was allowed to bed down and any gremlins were dealt with but now the retailer is ready to ramp-up operations.
So far 1.45m customers have registered on the site. That compares to approximately 6m registered on the old site but Wade-Gery said the rate of registrations is in line with expectations.
M&S, like other retailers, sees great potential for its digital and store operations to complement each other as services such as click-and-collect grow in popularity.
A third of customers coming into stores to collect items, for instance, buy another product while they are there.