October 19, 2011
Tiffany & Co., Swarovski and Jaeger LeCoultre are leading the jewelry and watch industry in digital marketing largely due to their dedication to social media, according to the most recent L2 Think Tank Digital IQ Index.
While Tiffany was the only brand to receive the top Genius ranking based on its mobile commerce offerings, luxury brands dominated the top 10. Unfortunately, luxury jewelry and watch brands such as Rolex and Patek Phillipe received the lowest scores overall compared to similar fashion and beauty digital IQ indexes, with a majority falling into the feeble and challenged categories.
“I was most surprised by the stark difference in digital performance between watch and jewelry brands and other luxury categories such as fashion and beauty,” said Daniella Caplan, research lead at L2 Think Tank, New York. “The percent of brands falling within the challenged and feeble classes is the highest we’ve seen in our recently-released reports.
“Tiffany and Swarovski were the only two brands to receive genius and gifted classifications, respectively, while around 32 percent of fashion and beauty brands typically fall under those categorizations,” she said. “Some brands are making significant efforts, but progress is much slower.”
The L2 Think Tank Digital IQ Index: Watches and Jewelry examined Web site functionality, design and content, digital marketing, social media and mobile efforts of 35 jewelry and watch brands.
Almost every brand in this year’s jewelry and watch-specific digital IQ index maintained a Facebook page and a noticeable number of brands began marketing via mobile.
Indeed, 32 out of 35 brands examined by L2 now maintain a presence on Facebook, with communities averaging more than 200,000 fans.
Additionally, mobile site adoption is up from just 7 percent in 2010 to 39 percent this year.
The top 10 brands, in order, were Tiffany, Swarovski, Jaeger-LeCoultre, David Yurman, Cartier, Omega, Tag Heuer, Longines, Montblanc and Pandora.
Tiffany was the only brand to receive a gifted ranking and was lauded for its mobile application and microsite What Makes Love True along with its Engagement Ring finder app.
The brand’s easy-to-navigate Web site and social media efforts, including an Instagram account, were also recognized.
Coming in second place, Swarovski was lauded for its digital marketing efforts and noted as having the highest site traffic and largest Facebook community.
The brand aimed younger this past year with the release of its Hello Kitty collection, and used a large Facebook campaign as well as a 3D e-catalog to showcase the collection.
Jaeger-LeCoultre received third-place and was noted for its digital best practice and high social media score.
David Yurman was ranked fourth largely due to its presence on the geolocation social media platform foursquare.
In fifth place was Cartier, which was highly lauded for its iPad app updates and taking charge of its Facebook presence.
Watch brand Omega came in sixth place and was recognized for its content-rich iPad magazine.
LVMH-owned Tag Heuer was ranked No. 7 for holding press conferences on Facebook and having a top-scoring YouTube account.
Watchmaker Longines came in eighth place and was commended for its easy-to-navigate commerce-enabled Web site that can be sorted by price.
Montblanc was the last luxury brand found in the top 10, tying for ninth-place with Pandora.
The brand was lauded for its ecommerce options and its various Facebook programs, such as a “Tribute to Grace Kelly” and “A tribute to the Montblanc” tabs.
While a majority of the luxury brands were found among the top of the digital IQ index, a few brands were found among the lowest rated.
Rolex was ranked No. 28, noticeably due to the brand’s lack of digital updates this year as well as a complete absence of social media presence.
Jewelry brand Fabergé was also found at the bottom of the list, coming in 34th. The brand, which has only one bricks-and-mortar store, was encouraged to liven-up its online innovation.
Indeed, Rolex and Fabergé both dropped 30 percent since last year’s rankings.
Taking the last place title was watchmaker Patek Phillipe. Although having one of the top 10 YouTube videos, the brand was scolded for not yet having a presence on Facebook or an ecommerce platform.
L2 did have some recommendations for brands who wish to increase their IQ ratings within the next year.
Search engine optimization is a must, per the research group.
The study found that less than half the brands are purchasing their own brand keywords, failing to appear in the top-three paid ads of their search pages.
This is opening the door for third-party sellers and flash-sale sites to dominate luxury watch and jewelry ecommerce sales.
Additionally, the lack of a branded ecommerce site is also helping third-party retailers and flash-sale sites and taking sales away from luxury brands.
Indeed, just 29 percent of brands in the index boast ecommerce capability.
While many brands still need to develop ecommerce and mobile commerce platforms, L2 did find that many of the brands had steered away from flash-heavy sites since last year, showing a step in the right direction.
“Brands in this category should really focus on driving commerce, whether by linking to authorized online retailers, enabling in-store pickup, encouraging user reviews and starting to sell online,” Ms. Caplan said.
“Additionally, the social communities in this category are tremendously small,” she said. “The average Facebook fan base is around 200,000, while in fashion it is over 1 million.
“Conversation can only shift from size to engagement once these brands garner a robust and active following.”
Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York