Assess the e-commerce activities of clothing retailer Topshop.

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I have chosen to assess the e-commerce activities of clothing retailer Topshop.  They now operate a website to supplement their store operations.  Below gives a short but useful insight into the nature of the website:

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Before looking at the analysing the actual nature of their e-commerce operations it will be useful to give a brief history of the Topshop brand and then a brief history of e-commerce.   Topshop belongs to the Arcadia Group Plc, the largest clothing retailer in the United Kingdom.  Arcadia has over 2000 outlets throughout the country and many more worldwide.  Topshop is one of seven the brands with others being Topman, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Wallis and Miss Selfridge.  Topshop was established in 1965 and is one of Arcadias leading brands.  Topshop’s flagship store in Oxford Circus, London is the world’s largest fashion store.  Topshops customers are 70% 16-34 year old females with the large percentage of young customers being due to the high fashion nature of the clothing.  

So what is e-commerce? E-commerce has been described as:

The process of buying, selling or exchanging products, services and information via computer networks.

                (Turban & King, p.3, 2003)

However some find this to narrow a definition and see the term e-business as being more appropriate as it encompasses more than just the notion of exchange, also including areas such as customer service and collaborating with others (business partners for example) and so on.  

E-commerce first developed in the early 1970’s with only larger corporations and financial institutions beginning to implement forms of e-commerce.  EDI (electronic transfer of documents) then opened e-commerce to a wider user base, now allowing for purchasing orders, invoices and so on. There has been talk of an “Internet based society” (Turban & King, 2003), which we live in and this will continue to grow and now even the traditionally considered establishments such as banks and post offices use e-commerce as part of their operations.  Ultimately one cannot escape from the fact that e-commerce is all around us:

E-business is now a mainstream part of most organisations

(Jackson & Eckersley, p.3, 2003)

Gartner Group predict that a “true” e-business model will emerge by 2008, in that e- business will not be seen as the exception but simply as a taken for granted part of business (Lecture notes, 7/10/04).  

Moving on.  One must consider why Topshop would benefit from “e-tailing” (Turban & King, 2003).  A good point to start is to note the vast amount of Internet users there now are.  Statistics show that by July 2004 58% of adults in the UK had accessed the Internet (Survey published September, 2004,  Even more relevant is the fact that online shopping is on the increase as an IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) study found which can be summarised in the following table:

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Furthermore IMRG also found in a separate study that the tendency of women to shop online is increasing.  At the time of the study 56% of online shoppers being female (Women Shoppers are Taking Over the Internet, July 2004,  These statistics show that it makes sense for Topshop to have a website if internet shopping is on the increase, in particular with respect to their target market females.  

Strategically one can look at how Topshop what sources of value Topshop possess.  The ...

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