- McDonald's debuted its first year-round e-commerce store that sells brand-themed merchandise that isn't available for purchase elsewhere, according to a press release.
- The new permanent online shop dubbed Golden Arches Unlimited — stylized on the site as "golden arches unltd." — rolls out with a holiday collection of timely items like sesame seed and Happy Meal Christmas tree ornaments, a red-and-green sweater and a winter beanie. McDonald's said the shop will feature rotating seasonal collections throughout the year, and that it will restock some of the sold-out offerings.
- General apparel and accessories, like T-shirts, hair ties and Pop Sockets, round out the more than 20 pieces of McDonald's gear available to buy at the shop's launch. The store continues a tradition of McDonald's working with fashion and retail brands that stretches back to the '80s, per the press release.
McDonald's establishing a permanent e-commerce destination for merchandise shows the marketer attempting to sharpen its appeal as a lifestyle brand that devoted fans can sport beyond its core fast food operations. At the same time, the online shop will help the marketer deepen insights into its most loyal customers.
The store being a year-round offering with restocked goods versus a one-off tied to a particular promotion suggests McDonald's is eyeing Golden Arches Unlimited as a serious side hustle — one it could also leverage for marketing around competitive periods of the year, such as the holidays, when consumers might be looking for unique gift ideas or yet another ugly sweater to wear to parties.
Golden Arches Unlimited's focus on e-commerce pairs with McDonald's push into areas like delivery. The Big Mac marketer initially dipped into the e-commerce space with a limited-run McDelivery Collection in 2017, which helped prop up a then-new partnership with Uber Eats. The chain has since dropped partner exclusivity and expanded its digital ordering and delivery work to other platforms like Grubhub to meet a growing consumer demand for digital convenience.
Others in the quick-service restaurant category, particularly Yum Brands' Taco Bell and KFC, have opened online storefronts that sell branded swag, apparel and unusual goods. When KFC cut the ribbon on its e-commerce shop in 2017, one of the marquee offerings was a 400-year-old meteorite carved to look like its Zinger sandwich, which came with a price tag of $20,000. KFC claimed the curio was bought after just over one week on the market.
Golden Arches Unlimited arrives as McDonald's adjusts its marketing leadership. Global CMO Silvia Lagnado departed last summer, with her role eliminated and replaced by two new positions: SVP of global marketing and SVP of marketing technology.
"McDonald's has been ingrained in the fabric of culture for years, and there's a long history of fans wearing our brand with pride," Colin Mitchell, who took over the SVP of global marketing job earlier this year, said in a statement. "We're excited to help customers wear their brand love on their sleeves with the unveiling of Golden Arches Unlimited ... "