Social shopping: Take your strategy from Debenhams

How can the social shopping strategy that Debenhams is using help your own retail business?

Nowadays everyone is familiar with, and well-versed in, online shopping. It seems like a vast amount of retailers both big and small now have online storefronts for their customers to make use of. So, what about the new concept of ‘social shopping’? This is something that retail giant Debenhams is undertaking and hoping to change the way they advertise and reach their consumers.

So, what exactly is this social shopping strategy that Debenhams is using and how could it help your own retail business? Let’s take a closer look.

Who is Debenhams?

For those unfamiliar with Debenhams, it currently features 240 stores found in 28 different countries around the world. The company employs more than 25,000 people and has two head offices in the UK. But it’s more than just the size of Debenhams that makes it unique, it’s the fact that that its online shopping channels are so different and distinct.

The company was founded in the 18th century and enjoyed a net income of £85.9 million in 2016 alone. To say it is a retail giant is somewhat of an understatement. At Debenhams, it’s all about offering the very best quality, choice, style, innovation, and customer service on the high street.

A shift in focus for advertising

It really should come as no surprise that if any company would lead the change in advertising focus it would be Debenhams. It’s all about a new phase in advertising, and in preparation Debenhams is reported to be finding a new ad agency to take over the task. This new strategy is called social shopping, and it’s something that many companies are starting to take notice of. The idea behind social shopping is that the experience is meant to be fun, sociable, and even act as a confidence builder.

When you break it down further, social shopping is the combination of e-commerce with social media. It’s easy to see why companies would be looking towards this strategy nowadays as more and more people grow dependent on social media. Social media is now used for discussions, comments, groups, voting, friends, and so much more. Social shopping takes all of these aspects, harnesses them together and creates a social shopping experience.

A more intuitive shopping experience

Unlike a traditional online shopping experience where the customer needs to move from site to site, with social shopping, items are grouped together for them. These items can be curated from various pages, and even various shops to give a much more intuitive and complete experience. It allows consumers to compare items side by side, piece together a whole look, and get a better sense of the items.

Leading the pack

So, while the majority of retailers still aren’t there in terms of a social shopping experience, it’s clear that the focus is beginning to shift. Debenhams seems ready and able to lead the way while other retailers eagerly watch from the sidelines and decide if it’s a move they too are willing to take.

Further reading on social shopping

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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