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Cast the net further online

Retailers can reach a wider online audience by partnering with an aggregate site that will showcase their offer

Competition online is rapidly increasing, but aggregate sites provide another way to reach a new audience.

Fashion aggregate sites pull in product from different retailers and brands and display them all within one portal. When product is clicked on to buy, customers are taken to the transactional area of the individual retailer’s site. For example, aggregate site Shopstyle.co.uk stocks a New Look dress and when customers click it they are taken to the New Look site to purchase it.

The process behind these sites is a simple one for retailers to take advantage of, and the sites are a great way to increase sales and traffic. The product featured on aggregate sites can be managed in a number of ways. ShopStyle takes what it calls a “screen scraping” of partner sites and automatically showcases their product.

Other aggregates, such as Osoyou, work by taking a product RSS feed from the retailer which then updates product as often as the retailer updates the feed.

The pricing structure for most aggregate sites works in a similar way - aggregates take a percentage of each sale that is made via their site. Retailers only pay if a transaction is completed.

For consumers, aggregate sites are becoming more popular because of the range of product. Jess Markwood, editor at Osoyou, says: “Advantages to the user include the fact that it is a huge time-saver. It also provides the user with more choice - they may not have necessarily considered visiting Dorothy Perkins to look for a little black dress only to discover that, by searching an aggregate site like Osoyou, Dorothy Perkins has loads of LBDs.”

In terms of promotion, social interaction plays a big part in aggregate site strategies. For example, aggregate site Storesociety.com has a members’ area where members share product finds, further pushing the brand awareness element of these sites - a compelling reason for retailers to get on board.

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