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Gucci, Burberry dominate luxury fashion sector for Web traffic

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October 22, 2010

Gucci's digital flagship homepage

Gucci's digital flagship homepage

Gucci and Burberry have generated more Web site traffic than any other luxury fashion brand surveyed in PM Digital’s latest online trend report.

PM Digital surveyed 20 brands for its “Trend Report: Luxury & Designer Brands.” Gucci and Burberry captured 13 percent and 6.5 percent of online market share, respectively.

“Luxury and designer brands were behind the curve in adding online stores, but that has changed,” said Suzy Sandberg, president of PM Digital, New York.

“To enter the online marketplace, brands need to take better advantage of paid search and social media,” she said.

“When luxury and designer brands decide to take their business online, an aggressive and well planned paid search campaign will help brands gain exposure and compete with competitors right out of the gate.”

Coach and Juicy Couture captured 39 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively. Additionally, BCBG Max Azria captured 4.7 percent and Michael Kors captured 3.9 percent.

For luxury and designer brands, a larger percentage of traffic gets routed to their sites via search engines than apparel and accessories sites overall. Luxury brands see 37 percent of their traffic from search engines whereas apparel and accessories sites see 31 percent.

However, these brands do not have strong paid search strategies and the vast majority of traffic to their sites is from organic search.

Some brands see less than 1 percent of their traffic come from paid search traffic.

“Paid search allows brands to immediately leverage promotions and showcase their offerings, such as the latest styles, exclusive merchandise, or special promotions such as free shipping,” Ms. Sandberg said.

“Even further, geo-targeting within the paid search campaign allows brands to target customers within locations where they have a strong customer base,” she said.

After search, most visitors come into luxury brand Web sites from other retail sites, which shows consumer’s tendency to visit an assortment of similar sites.

The study shows that, in terms of visitors to high-end brands coming from social media Web sites, Facebook is the frontrunner. At that, many brands are reluctant to promote on Facebook and many e-commerce enabled brands are using Facebook primarily for branding and engagement.

Traffic is beginning to grow from social media sites, with brands such as Dolce & Gabbana linking their Facebook on their Web page.

“Luxury brands must engage with customers through social marketing” Ms. Sandberg said. “Social Media offers luxury brands the opportunity to engage with customers in their brand voice, and is an excellent way to reach their audience in a captivating way,” Ms. Sandberg said.

Ultimately, a brand’s popularity in social media does not directly correlate with its market share of site visits.

By marketing directly to consumers, brands gain the ability to yield greater profit margins, exert better control over pricing and merchandising, and leverage improved website technology to significantly enrich the brand experience.

Combined with the high demand to buy directly from the brand this adds up to the rapid growth the luxury sector is currently experiencing.

“It’s also important to leverage web analytics to measure and optimize online performance,” Ms. Sandberg said. “Making apparel collections available for purchase online often requires an increased focus on product and analysis.”

“Measuring consumer interest in individual products and conversion rates of each can help improve site merchandising and planning,” she said.

Final Take
Kaitlyn Bonneville is editorial assistant at Luxury Daily, New York

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