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Put another weapon in your armoury

With large swathes of the country incapacitated by snow over the past couple of weeks, the internet has proved to be a valuable source of retail therapy for those shoppers who couldn’t battle through the blizzards. Of course, whether your parcel could be delivered is another matter.

But it seems it isn’t just the bad weather that is driving shoppers online, it’s the convenience, the choice, the perception they may be saving money (at the very least there’s no bus fare or parking to pay) and the fact that if a site is done well, it can be a lot of fun too.

According to research firm Nielsen, about 97% of UK web users now shop online, with 36% of those buying fashion.

The beauty of the etail market is that it is not just the big businesses that can benefit. In fact, in many cases it is the smaller players that are teaching them a trick or two. Take the winners of the inaugural Drapers Etail Awards last month. While there were big businesses such as Asos, Mulberry and Schuh on the honours list, the evening’s big winner (scooping two prizes, including the overall Gold Award) was premium fashion etailer My-Wardrobe.com, which only broke the £1 million sales barrier last year.

Our Ecommerce Focus (centre pages) should provide you with plenty of etail inspiration, whether you are already online and looking to improve your site or are thinking about taking the plunge for the first time. Equally, the Drapers Fashion Online conference on February 18 features some of the industry’s top experts (visit www.drapersfashiononline.com for details) who will share their experiences and advice.

The internet isn’t a panacea to all retail’s ills, but it’s a very useful tool to help you through the downturn.

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