A powerful differentiator, the use of brandTLDs remains far from widespread among large-scale retailing chains, a sector undergoing a major transformation notably brought about by the rise of digitisation and changes in consumer practices and preferences. Currently four large-scale retailing food brands have registered their own TLD: Walmart, Edeka, Schwarz (Lidl) and E.Leclerc, a French brand and pioneer in the use of the dot brand.
In this series of articles taken from the full study, we will set out five key challenges we feel large-scale retailing brands need to overcome to remain competitive and pursue their development, and will look at to what extent a custom TLD provides the answer.
Large-scale retailing: a sector undergoing a major transformation
With almost everything becoming digital, large-scale retailing is currently facing a number of challenges. Cross-channel, omni-channel and almost entirely personalised customer pathways are multiplying, the power of new digital natives in terms of logistics and service is becoming a norm for the general public, the emergence of cutting-edge technologies is reshuffling the deck when it comes to strategic plans, and consumer needs are becoming more fine-tuned… All of this coupled with the constant rise of e‑commerce since the COVID crisis means that brands in the sector have no choice but to innovate.
The level of digital maturity most recently recorded for large-scale retailing may not be among the highest (43/100)1, but we have nonetheless seen numerous changes in the past few years by brands in the sector, all based on digital practices: click & collect, omni-channel loyalty programmes, product scanning via a mobile app, etc.
Marketplaces and partnerships between chains: high growth potential practices
More and more large-scale retailing chains are launching their marketplaces based on the Amazon model, with a view to monetising their audience by referencing their merchants, whom they call partners. Via the marketplace, the chain’s customers thus have access to a broader range of products, rounding out its core offer. In this model, the partner-vendors are responsible for delivery to the end customer. Apart from the financial gains, there are numerous advantages for the chain, which broadens its range of products, attracts new customers, and avoids out-of-stock situations and saturation of its logistics network.
Partnerships between chains are increasingly common; for a large-scale retailing chain they consist in renting space to specialist brands. The aim is to attract consumers of this brand to its points of sale and thus increase the profitability per square metre of its large shopping centres. So these partnerships have both a digital and physical dimension, and provide reassurance for consumers.
The dot brand: digital ally of choice to enhance the visibility of marketplaces and partnerships
BrandTLDs allow the major chains to showcase their marketplaces by registering a domain name for each of their in-store or marketplace partners, for example.
A Decathlon pop-up store in Franprix could typically be conveyed by the URL “decathlon.franprix”. For Franprix, it would then be easy to steer consumers to the page referencing its partner’s (Decathlon’s) products without any ambiguity, while at the same time indirectly benefiting its own products and services. This URL format means that each partnership can be highlighted in a balanced and easily understandable way – a real plus when it comes to boosting the profile and impact of any drive-to-web or drive-to-store advertising campaign.
A custom TLD allows much more intuitive access to the chain’s resources for its customers, merchant partners, employees, etc. A clear dot brand URL gives users direct access to the content they are looking for. Since they no longer have to scroll through website tree diagrams, let alone resort to search engines, there is a considerable time saving in the user journey, from which a close commercial relationship between customer and brand can grow.
Download the full study “BrandTLDs and large-scale retailing: 5 key challenges solved by a dot brand”
This article is an extract from the full study which presents:
- A situational analysis of large-scale retailing in France
- A focus on the brands with their own TLDs in this sector
- 5 key challenges faced by these brands which can be solved by a brandTLD
1 – Lynx Partners, 2020: https://lynx-partners.com/digital-score