It’s safe to say that a lot has changed in the last year, let alone in the last decade. More specifically, online presence has become significantly important to every kind of business over time, especially the retail sector. To investigate further, we wanted to take a look at the Google Trends of competing businesses and analyse their performance over the last 10 years. Why has popularity shifted from one company to another? Do their websites have a strong influence or is it due to deeper issues? Let’s explore.

Comparisons Between Competing Businesses 2004 to Present

Thorntons Vs. Hotel Chocolat

Since 1911, Thorntons has been the first-choice chocolatier, however this may be because it was the only one around. Their brick-and-mortar shops were like everything you dreamed of as a child with counters filled with a pick ‘n’ mix of little chocolates, chocolate characters and figurines on the shelves and the option to personalise cholate slabs and eggs.

Hotel Chocolat didn’t open a shop until 2004, the start of our Google Trends comparison. Straight off the bat, you could tell there was a difference between these 2 chocolatiers from their shop aesthetics. Hotel Chocolat was the complete opposite of family friendly Thorntons, it was luxurious and lavish, offering premium chocolate products.

Looking at the Google Trends graph, you can see Thorntons started off with more interest. We predict this was due to the familiarity of the brand and Hotel Chocolat had only just opened a retail shop. It doesn’t take long for Hotel Chocolat to reach the same interest level as Thorntons. As they both offer 2 different types of chocolate gifts, it’s obvious they are appealing to a balance of customers.

Nevertheless, Hotel Chocolat exceeds in the rankings after 2015 and sees a dramatic rise compared to Thornton slight decline. With online shopping becoming more popular, could this result be due to their online presences? It’s clear to see that their two distinctive brands and what they offer are represented in their website design.

In our mind, we believe that Hotel Chocolat’s monochromatic theme and luxurious products extending further than chocolate are more appealing to today’s audience. Seen as a more fashionable choice, plus a healthier one too, makes this company people’s first choice for gifts.

Wickes Vs. Screwfix

Both home improvement and DIY retailers, Wickes and Screwfix offer very similar products but to a slightly different demographic. Wickes has a greater focus on trade customers, plus the kitchen and bathroom market. Screwfix also targets trade customers, but makes sure it is a great choice for they DIYers too.

As you can see from the Google Trends graph, they both seem to increase in interest over the years. Wickes isn’t as steady as Screwfix, but increasing, nonetheless. Screwfix takes the lead just before 2015. We believe this ties in with both company’s advertising efforts and possibly the differences between their online presences.

Remember Wickes’ memorable catchphrase being spoken by Timothy Spall, “Wickes. It’s got our name on it”? This advertising strategy ended in 2015 and just after this the difference is highlighted between the two competitors.

Screwfix used the World Cup to its advantage in 2018 with their “Legends of the Game” campaign. It uses people who share the same name as famous footballers in their adverts shown on Sky Sports, as comedians in adverts shown on Dave, and as dart-players in adverts shown on ITV’s dart coverage. This resulted in connecting with customers on many different levels and increased their brand image dramatically.

Another reason we believe is behind Screwfix’s success is their filtering system on their website. They have used their trade magazine structure to their advantage allowing their navigation to be thorough yet easy to use. Also, with Screwfix having 710 stores nationwide compared to Wickes’ 240, the ability to do click and collect (in less than a minute we might add!) proves extremely popular with customers.

Matalan Vs. Topshop

Topshop was originally started to provide “the closest a high street shopper got to catwalk fashion.” A unique selling point which understandably gained them popularity over the mid-noughties and through to the 2010’s. Their brick-and-mortar shops, especially the Oxford Street store, were loved by customers and viewed as a premium, trendy clothes store.

Matalan was introduced as a value retailer and cost-effective competitor for Topshop, catering to the high demand of fashion-hungry consumers. As the internet and online shopping grew throughout this time, it was clear to see Topshop struggling. Trending fashion lines were now easily available at the click of a button and their online shop wasn’t as extensive as their in-person offering.

As more online retailers appeared and more valued clothes shop grew, they began to overshadow Topshop. Their previous website was simple to use and clean in design, but it was obvious that there wasn’t much range. Matalan, on the other hand, have maintained their status as Topshop drops.

Immediately presenting discounts and deals in their homepage banner, Matalan are clear about what they have to offer. An extensive filtering system details their all-encompassing shop filled with products that they know their audience want. As well as staple fashion pieces at a discounted price, they also provide kids clothing and homeware which was something Topshop never did. This could be potentially be a reason why they have surpassed Topshop in Google Trends and maintained their popularity.

National Rail Vs. Trainline

National Rail and Trainline, both provide a way to purchase train tickets and organise your travel. However, there are major differences to their online presences, and this is where National Rail’s downfall inevitably comes from.

Although one of the most downloaded train apps, the National Rail app is extremely outdated along with its website. It’s also outdated as they don’t seem to utilise many forms of advertising, only other peoples’ directly within the app!

The Trainline app gives you more information with an intuitive delivery alongside finding you the cheapest ticket for your journey. Live train tracking abilities, precise platform numbers, a “recents and favourites” page and tickets you don’t need to print out are all incredibly useful.

Unlike National Rail, Trainline do use advertising to the best of their ability. This includes AR-enabled outdoor ads and both radio and TV adverts that are relatable. Even though both companies have seen a drastic drop last year due to the pandemic, Trainline has regained its lead it originally achieved in 2015. We believe the reasons above are ultimately why and if National Rail wants to carry on competing, it needs an online revamp fast!

Sports Direct Vs. JD Sports

Sports Direct and JD Sports are two of the most well-known sports retailers and most visited websites. Both recognised as go-to shops for discounted sportswear, they have always been quite level competitors within this market. Sports Direct was ahead for a few years and we believe this was due to their bigger range and discounts.

When you visit their stores, you are met with an overwhelming amount of stock from a huge number of brands. Customers obviously went searching for this online, but as you can see, they were soon overtaken by JD Sports in Google Trends. It wasn’t a slight overtake either, it was a drastic upsurge leaving Sports Direct to catch up.

Over the years, JD has enhanced their brand to be more than just sportswear, but fashion too. They work closely with big name partners like Nike and Adidas, ensuring that they maintain great relationships with them. By keeping up with consumer behaviour trends and establishing their brand on social media, JD have strengthened their reputation.

Using influencers and attending events have allowed JD to extend their reach and become a more sought-after, exclusive retailer. If you look at both their websites, you will see they are very similar in style and functionality. So, these Google Trends definitely highlight the importance of online presence, digital marketing and the impact social media can have on your brand.

The Significance of Keeping Up With Online Trends

Overall, this comparison has shown that it’s extremely important to keep up with online trends in an overly online world. Not only has this pandemic shown us the significance of a strong online presence, but each company in this article who overtakes their competitor has done so by improving their digital identity and by giving the customers what they want.

How strong is your online presence? Do you want to see an improvement in your Google Trends? If you would like to optimise your current online platform or would like to design a new one for your business, get in touch with us on our contact page to discuss our website design services, or organic SEO campaigns. Alternatively, you can call us on 01473 934050 or email us at [email protected]. Interested to find out more about Logic Design? Visit our homepage or see our services.