Why Online Strategy Matters

Goodbye Sportsgirl!

Sportsgirl vs ForeverNew

In 2-4 years, the iconic brand Sportsgirl will be superseded in the Australian fashion market. We are witnessing Sportsgirls slow, imperceptible descent into irrelevancy that may not immediately be reflected in the anodyne language of the public corporate image.

Why? Go to Google and type in the word “dresses”. Start scrolling… you will find, but after several pages, still no Where is Sportsgirl? “Dresses” is the No 1 value item for both brands and is the first item online, yet Sportsgirl is nowhere to be found.

Monitoring Sportsgirl is an excellent breathing example of a poorly executed online retail strategy that will downstream and may ultimately smother an iconic brand. Look now behind the Sportsgirl image and you can see the cracks. Who does Westfield rate higher today?


The retail fashion industry is a highly competitive market, with retailers competing both online and offline.


  • ForeverNew with 26% less shops than Sportsgirl has over 57% more website traffic than Sportsgirl.


While both brick & mortar and online stores complement each other, in 2015, it is critical to combine brick & mortar with online in a coherent and unified strategy.


  • CottonOn, Australia’s No 1 brick & mortar & online retailer earned more than 100M in online sales in calendar year 2014.


Sportsgirl ForeverNew
Year Established 1948 2006
Number of Stores 116 92
Website Traffic (Jan 2014-15) 3.05m 4.8m
Online sales circa $17m pa $27m pa


If you are not appearing on Google for the (free) keywords (dresses) that are relevant to your brand or category – you simply do not enter the mind of the Australian searcher. From Darwin to Hobart, from Perth to Sydney, from Vaucluse to Albert Park, to everyone in the world who uses Google to search for “dresses”, Sportsgirl simply does not exist.


  • If a searcher clicks through to a website and has a great user experience, they are also likely to visit the store.


See Venn diagram, which is a volume chart relating to keyword comparison for the free ads of Sportsgirl and ForeverNew.

ForeverNew has a much bigger net of keywords to capture new customers off their free leads. Keywords include “dresses”, “accessories”, etc. There is no cost per click for ForeverNew.

ForeverNew’s costs for New customer capture are significantly lower than Sportsgirl’s.

Besides Corporate sales, ranking on Google in organic search is the cheapest method for customer acquisition.

The inability of Sportsgirl to capture new customers at the cheapest point is then enhanced by Sportsgirl chasing new customers with paid keywords. Sportsgirl is dizzily spending money on the most expensive method of customer capture.

Paid keywords is the most expensive method for new customer acquisition.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art of getting your website to rank higher on Google.

SEO consists of a lot of elements, which combined, can have a huge impact on page ranking. A little technical however to illustrate the difference between Sportsgirl and ForeverNew, we compare a product page (shoes) on the difference in “basic” SEO elements. For more insights, or clarification you can always contact us.

URL /shoes /shoes
Title tags Shoes | Sportsgirl Womens’s Shoes – High Heels, Stilettos, Flats | ForeverNew
Meta description Put your best foot forward with our range of need-it-now footwear. Heels, boots, clogs, sandals or kick – we’ve got you covered ForeverNew will have you perfectly poised with our fabulous collection of women’s shoes. FREE delivery within Australia for orders over AUD $50.
H1 Tag Shoes Shoes
Image Alt tags NO keyword rich Alt tags on specific product pages INCLUDES keyword rich Alt tags on specific product pages
Content NO content Relevant content – Separate pages for different types of shoes, who target long-tail product specific keywords
Product info Description of manufacturer, NO keywords included Unique product description with keywords included in product description

ForeverNew has put thought into their Title tags is including “Women’s Shoes” as their primary keyword. Sportsgirl Title tags states “Shoes” – are this shoes for men, women or children? You have to be specific and tell searchers and search engines like google what you offer.

Online is a competitive world, where your competitor’s strategies matter and they will translate into Brick & Mortar sales. You must be fastidious. You must help search engines like google know what your website does!
ForeverNew sales per meter in store will continue to increase. Already the ForeverNew cost of customer acquisition is lower than Sportgirl, if this trend continues Sportgirl irrelevancy is guaranteed. Sportsgirl occupation (rental) costs are higher as a percentage of sales and Landlords will inevitably favor ForeverNew or any progressive retailer, over Sportsgirl.


“Goodbye Sportsgirl”

Deciding and executing a unified SEO strategy is the key to success in fashion retail.

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail”

Winston Churchill

The lesson – even Iconic brands make mistakes that will ultimately cripple the company. Take a back step, make sure key stakeholders are educated on SEO, analyse the competition, audit your online strategy and make sure you do not join the “goodbye” club.