So here’s a big question about the Internet — what will it look like as more domain names become available? You know, when it’s possible for chanel.com to become chanel.chanel. During WWD‘s recent digital forum, the fashion lawyer Michelle Mancino Marsh advised brands to develop well-considered plans regarding upcoming domain name opportunities. And yet just the application fee to take over a domain name is $185,000. Though we expect to see online retail soon look a little different, this particular opportunity is only relevant to certain size brands. What the domain name changes make more broadly apparent, however, is the inevitable and ongoing evolution of e-commerce.
Basically, online retail needs to be “future-proofed.” It’s become, for instance, more and more apparent that online retailers must integrate their presences across all digital (selling) platforms. One consistent site should be accessible via every possible device (computer, tablet, mobile phone). With mobile commerce ever on the rise, companies stand to benefit most when they adopt this practice (and hey, it’s good for SEO). So, what to do? Create open-source content, via software like Drupal, that puts responsive design at the forefront of its content management platform. The initial costs are higher, but long-term maintenance isn’t.
Along with Marsh, Robert Willms, the CEO of Optaros, spoke at WWD‘s forum. He pointed out that as consumers increasingly turn to mobile commerce, they still want it to look like a company’s original Web site. Well, look at that! Shoppers’ requirements for online retail actually follow technology’s best practice. While adopting an expensive domain name consistent with one’s brand (Coach.coach, anyone?) might not be necessary for most retailers, future-proofing for general digital consistency should clearly be the number one strategy, going forward, for everyone.