With La Senza, Blacks Leisure, Peacocks and Firetrap the administration hit the headlines not only because of the job losses involved but because the high street was losing a well-known retail brand.
So, while these brands may not have been able to stay afloat in choppy retail waters, they had certainly done a good job in effectively developing a brand with plenty of valuable collateral attached to it.
In the past, brand collateral and the value of a retail brand was intrinsically tied up with its presence on the high street. Once the retail presence was gone, the brand ceased to exist.
Fortunately for retailers, in particular emerging businesses, this is no longer the case. Where a brand may cease to exist offline, its website and identity online continues to have significant value.
For retailers the size and significance of Blacks and La Senza, the brand equity and, similarly, the authority their websites have acquired through investment in SEO, could be a choice purchase for rising businesses or competitors wanting to scoop up a bigger share of the market.
When a house is purchased, it isn’t just in the same state as when it was originally acquired – homeowners build on a property’s equity by making improvements and creating a more attractive prospect for when it is put up for sale.
The same can be applied to online presence and specifically, SEO: brand owners invest time and effort in growing and enhancing their online visibility and presence through developing content strategies that drive traffic to their websites that crucially, result in converted sales.
Akin to moving into a ready-furnished, decorated house rather than having to buy a plot of land and build your own house from scratch, business managers could purchase the online assets of a company that has fallen into administration, such as the trade mark and domain name of the website, and effectively acquire the established equity that remains.
By renovating and relaunching the site a business could instantly elevate their brand to another level and gain a stronger foothold in the marketplace.
Another way that businesses could benefit is to redirect the pages of a website previously held by a major retailer or business to their own website.
Similar to moving up the property ladder, a search engine would see that your site has instantly acquired increased authority and would regard it as more trusted source with the result being an instant climb up the search engine rankings.
As a recent example of how this works, in 2009, the Shop Direct Group (formally Littlewoods Home Shopping) purchased Woolworths, including its domain name, and launched it as an online retailer.
By constructing website content that cross-promotes the services of all the brands under the Shop Direct umbrella the organisation has been able to capitalise on an opportunity to generate further sales at the online point of purchase stage within the individual sites it owns.
It goes without saying that this doesn’t apply to brand new e-commerce websites, as it’s less likely that these will have had the time or input to have established enough of a following for a business to properly benefit from. However, for SMEs and large corporate brands alike, the ability to purchase valuable online equity is a route that shouldn’t be ignored.