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Stephen Logan

Resurrection of a High Street Institution Online

25th Jun 2009 News, Industry News 1 minute to read

Woolworths is still a name that evokes nostalgia. Its demise at the end of last year left customers, commentators and employees shocked, if not entirely surprised. For years they gradually lost relevance and consumer interest as their diversified range could no longer compete with the specialist stores on their doorstep.

But like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes, along comes a re-vamped Woolworths.co.uk to cast aside the smouldering rubble of its former high street glory. This time though, they are listening to their customers. Offering a far more selective range and reintroducing some of their old favourites, including pick n mix, to show that online business is as vibrant as ever; even for those companies that have failed in the real world.

Leaving aside some of the sentimentality, the new Woolworths site is a marvel of modern marketing strategies. New owners Shop Direct have tapped into this famous brand and have used the name to gain extensive coverage, not least on social media.

You can now follow the progress of the brand new Woolworths on both Facebook and Twitter, along with thousands of others. Along with the usual stream of press releases which have now made it into the news, this steady stream of user interaction has afforded Woolworths a distinctly fresher user-orientated feel.

While only time will tell if it is successful, the integration of social media and blogs within the site are a represents a more personable approach to marketing and business in general. There are bugs-a-plenty littered throughout the site still, for example visit the ‘Outdoor’ section and select any of the items  within the ‘Woolies Loves’; the images, categories and products barely match up (i.e. Mr. Bump is currently the image for the LG KP500 Cookie mobile phone), but I’m sure these are just teething problems.

The bottom line of all this though is that business can and is still thriving on the Internet. Even if your physical presence has become defunct, there is a future still online. This venture will undoubtedly be initially popular due the household name it’s attached to, but it’s certainly a model of marketing that could benefit smaller, newer businesses too.

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