Just a few years ago, The Hut Group – now badged THG, and with a well-publicised stock exchange float under its belt – was probably better known for its collection of DTC websites, many of them in the wellbeing space; household names that it had acquired such as MyProtein, HQHair and LookFantastic.com.  More interesting, many would argue, was its Ingenuity division, an end-to-end ecommerce solution, taking care of everything from website build, to warehousing, fulfilment and everything in between, allowing brands to focus on their market strategy.

Today, WPP is going head to head with THG’s Ingenuity with the launch of Everymile, a new division, headed up by John Rogers, the former CEO of Argos, which will take it far away from its core marketing services business and into the grit of inventory management, warehousing, supply chain, fulfilment and returns – an inadvertent nod to the wire shopping baskets that gave the company its name back in 1971!

As Mark Read explained in the Q1 earnings call earlier this week, WPP has identified a “massive market” for Everymile and aims to have a number of clients live by the end of this financial year with a view to taking the offer global.

This is a big piece of news which hasn’t quite had the level of reporting in our trade media we might have expected. It’s a major diversification but it does align with the fact that retail media is the fastest growing segment of digital advertising, especially given its powers of conversion and attribution. Retail is anywhere and everywhere and increasingly retail and media are becoming as one.

The attraction of a model like THG’s Ingenuity and WPP’s Everymile is that it’s a sticky service, it ties in clients across a range of operational areas that makes it extremely difficult to move away. That’s great for visibility of earnings and guaranteed revenue.  It’s also a great way of getting control of more data and potentially a way of taking on Amazon and clawing back some of the marketing budget going in that direction.

And it’s not the only big ecommerce news of this kind in our sector in recent weeks. Stagwell made a significant investment on 21st April when it acquired Brand New Galaxy, a 600-person strong global business that describes itself as “a leading provider of scaled commerce and marketplace solutions for 150+ global brands and 500+ e-retailers worldwide,” which will sit within the Stagwell Media Network to “add deep, digital-first specialization in connected commerce solutions, scaling Stagwell’s broad e-commerce capabilities to service more complex global clients.