M&S launches marketing push to make its new website its flagship store

M&S is launching a marketing push to promote its new website as it aims to make its online presence its flagship store and convince the 19 million people that buy from its high street shops but not its website to give it a try.

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M&S has launched a marketing push to convince people to discover its new website

The “Discover” campaign, which launches today (1 May), focuses on a digital push that will see M&S communicating with its social media fans every day, highlighting the content on its website, as well as making use of videos, interviews and pictures from its Leading Ladies campaign.

Speaking at an event in London about M&S’s online strategy, the retailer’s executive director of marketing and business development, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne said the campaign is the first stage of a strategy that will look to “build momentum” around its website over the coming months and “hit a crescendo” in time for the crucial shopping period. Speaking to Marketing Week at the event, he said details of forthcoming campaigns were yet to be set as the retailer looks to learn and evaluate response to the site before deciding on what aspects to promote.

“We will use analytics to put marketing support behind what we see, with social being a big part of that and content a central part of the core. We want to see what content gets consumers, where customers are most engaged before we decide what to put our marketing weight behind and allow our customers to be much more interactive than in the past.

“This is a different marketing profile than you might expect from M&S,” he added.

He said digital now accounts for more than a fifth of M&S’s marketing spend, with that proportion doubling since 2010. While some of that increase has come from an increased budget, it also signals a shift away from more traditional advertising formats into digital.

M&S relaunched its website in February as part of a £150m investment in its digital business. Sales at its online business fell to 12.5 per cent in the first quarter, which the retailer blamed on lower marketing levels.

Despite this, M&S says 1.45 million people have registered on the new site, mainly made up of its most actively engaged and highest spending customers. The previous site had 6.5 million annual active users.

M&S now wants to build on that and says it has “turned on the taps” to get people onto the site. Beyond the online marketing push, the campaign will also take its digital content in store with products from its online “Editors Pick” feature appearing in shop windows and digital screens showcasing content.

It has also inked a partnership with Conde Nast that will see a six-page insert go in magazines including Vogue and content appear on both its and M&S’s website. The insert will also be available in M&S stores, including those that only sell food.

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