insta shop?

I get emails from shops that I buy from – even though I check the box that says NO THANKS. I bet you do too. Then I start getting emails from shops that I did
NOT buy from. Most of them I trash without even reading them, but the other day one caught my eye. It wasn’t that it had something I was interested in – it
was that it was strangely familiar.

It looked like the last email from a different shop. And strangely similar to yet a third shop. I had trashed most of the previous day’s emails, but I
managed to dig up a few and clicked through to have a look. I found five of them (and am sure there might be more!) and they all look exactly the same, with
some basic design tweaks. They are selling the same products. They have the same navigation. They are organised the same way, and they have (almost) the same
main image for their main page promotion.

I am slightly stumped. What is going on here? Is this the department store version of cafepress? Can I buy a shop, choose a skin and start trading – selling
things that I don’t stock, but which are sent from some central warehouse with MY logo on them?

Here are the sites so far…


I didn’t think to click the corporate info link on one of the sites, and I was lead to the holding company that encompasses the lot. There are two more to
add to the list.

I don’t understand why they’ve set up this way. Each of their brands has their own book and website. They are each described with a quite different
personality. But each stocks the same things with the same setup. Are we consumers that stupid?


  • Hi Alison,
    I think there are many such trading groups out there if you do a bit of digging. What about the way the main electrical retailers are organised now? Years ago
    we had Rumbelows and they disappeared. Dixons seems to have gone and in its place in our High Street we have Currys Digital. Now quite how or if that is
    supposed to be different to Currys I have no idea. Perhaps it is because of the product range they sell that does not include white goods – just cameras,
    phones, sat nav, laptops, tvs … I think you get the idea.
    Now if I am correct you then get down to PC World being tied into them, and then there’s Comet … and quite who is associated with who and quite how many
    unconnected stores we are ever really left with I have no idea.
    As for emails, I have one address that I never use on any website ever at all. And it has therefore remained totally spam-free. Quite an achievement I think.
    Whereas the other one I use for all online purchases, subscriptions, newsletters, anything like that and as such the junk goes there.
    Works for me.

  • alison says:

    oh I have specific emails too! You need to do that.
    Curry’s is the new name of Dixons, hence Dixon’s disappearing. Apparently the management wanted to move away from that name, although it still trades
    in Ireland.
    PC world is a part of DSG international which also owns Curry’s, however their websites are not clones of each other. They do have some of the same
    products, and the ones I looked at to test are at the same price too. They are also physical shops you can walk into, and they have quite different sales
    The thing about the sites I’ve listed here is that they are exactly the same as each other in every single way, other than the styling of the page colours
    and logos.