UK's online retailers welcome back Woolies

2nd Feb 2009 | 15:37

UK's online retailers welcome back Woolies

Kelkoo and Firebox both supporting Woolworths online

Following the earlier news that Woolworths is set to relaunch in the summer as an online store, owned by Shop Direct and Daily Telegraph moguls the Barclay brothers, we spoke with a number of well established online retail experts to gauge initial responses.

"Woolworth's customers will be delighted to hear the news that their much loved retailer has been rescued," Christian Robinson, MD of Firebox.com told TechRadar.

"The problem with Woolworths in its previous guise as a high street retailer was that the company never really had a clear and consistent online strategy," said Bruce Fair, UK MD of online price comparison site Kelkoo.com

"So the new owners will have the benefit of a well-known consumer brand without the high overheads of trying to run an offline business.

A new direction for Woolies

It remains to be seen what direction the Barclay brothers decide to take the new online Woolworths store.

"It will certainly be interesting to see an iconic brand with strong heritage continue under new owners. Now that Woolworths is in the hands of such a large home shopping retailer it has great potential to succeed as an online store," says Firebox.com's Christian Robinson.

"We look forward to seeing whether Shop Direct taps into Woolworth's original brand values and takes loyalty from its existing customers and translates this into their new online offering... or if they take
it off into a different direction. And if they get pick 'n' mix to work online then hats off to them!"

Offline awareness high

Despite no longer existing on our high street, what the marketers refer to as 'offline brand awareness' about Woolworths is clearly going to remain high over the next few years, which is obviously a great start for launching the company as an online-only store.

"Some of the best online retailers Kelkoo deals with have a strong offline brand which strengthens their brand awareness online," adds Kelkoo UK MD Bruce Fair.

"These guys will have that from day one. So good luck to them, I say!"

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