Fashion brand owners generally seek to utilise digital marketing through brand sites both displaying and promoting the brand and the goods but also offering consumers the possibility of buying. E-commerce well aligned and integrated with physical sales channels are said to be the final stage of a multi-channel transformation. However, the internet has basically only few limitations to who and what to sell. Brand owners might thus see that smaller and larger (wholesale) customers put up e-commerce using the brand more or less loyally to the intended brand values. This can potentially undermine the brand site and hence the brand value. The current paper discusses formation of a methodological and practical approach to identify, control and manage independent online retailers. A case on a brand owner finding 74 online retailers is presented. Central conclusions are (1) independent online retailers represent a new challenge to any brand owner, especially pertaining to brand integrity, (2) the brand owner has little influence on the relationship and position among actors in the segment, but (3) management, technology and control frameworks can beneficially be developed to balance advantages and disadvantages. This paper suggests its originality in addressing a new and complex issue in e-commerce with having the brand site both be the leading branding activity, but also a major commercial activity.
Proceedings of the 3rd Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference, 2012, p. 1-14