With stores closing at a record pace — the first half of 2017 saw more retail store closures than all of 2016 — retailers must look to digital in order to remain relevant. Looking at the companies in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail that saw the most extreme changes to their ranking in the past year – either positively or negatively – offers other brands an instructional example of how to move up in the digital ranks.



Admittedly, Aerie benefits from a shared site platform with parent brand American Eagle. But the brand stands out from its parent with savvy digital investments, like dominant ownership across key search terms and the #AerieREAL video campaign. On Facebook, Aerie’s chatbot presents users with a series of paired images and then recommends products based on which they like better.


One of this year’s biggest digital winners, Aldo recognizes the critical role that omnichannel plays in linking stores and e-commerce. The brand added click and collect as a fulfillment option, letting customers buy items online and pick them up in-store, and consolidated inventory from its store and warehouse network to facilitate online order fulfillment. Meanwhile, Aldo integrates technology with traditional shopping by letting store visitors use iPads and send messages via the brand app.


Michael Kors: AVERAGE to GIFTED

Michael Kors continues to excel across social media platforms with strategic celebrity partnerships. Furthermore, Destination Kors consistently delivers fresh content relating to new product releases, as well as behind-the-scenes coverage of fashion shows and interviews with models.



A lack of investment in site updates pushed the retailer down in L2’s ranking. Chico’s also registers minimal organic visibility on key search terms, even though the brand invests in both PLAs and AdWords.

Steve Madden: GIFTED to AVERAGE

Weak site investments have contributed to dwindling traffic. Additionally, Steve Madden fails to stack up to category competitors on social media, despite activity on both Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

Share of postsAeropostale: AVERAGE to CHALLENGED

Compared to teen apparel competitors, the brand falls short on site, digital marketing, and social investments. Its lack of omnichannel investments and integrated inventory information also limit the site experience.

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