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Conversion Rate Optimisation: Which Luxury Fashion Brands Are Best Dressed?

A snapshot of how 29 luxury fashion brands convert users into sales

Who is leading the industry in CRO?

The mission at Hit Search is to create unique digital marketing campaigns and conversion rate optimisation (CRO) strategies for a wide range of retail brands.

The Luxury Brand market is one of the most competitive industries in the world, especially online. Using proven SEO techniques is part of any digital marketing campaign; but encouraging customers to convert once they arrive on the site is just as important…and often overlooked.

This report looks at 29 of the world’s most prominent luxury fashion brands, analysing their key CRO strengths and weaknesses. Our aim is to illustrate the opportunity brands have to increase conversions by optimising their website.

We’ll shed new light on the way brands encourage higher sales in this competitive industry and highlight those who focus on conversion rate optimisation. What do they do to convert users into revenue?

I found the results of this study particularly interesting and I am sure you will too. If you have any feedback, comments or questions, feel free to get in touch.

Andrew Redfern

This report looks at 29 of the world’s most prominent high fashion brands, analyses their key CRO strengths and weaknesses and ranks them in order of how conversion focused they are.

The findings in this report illustrate how the luxury fashion sector embraces conversion rate optimisation and provides benchmarks for the retail industry as a whole.

Site speed and load time

57% of web visitors will abandon a website if its load time is more than 3 seconds - hence site speed and load time play a major part in the user buying decision.

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Google suggests that brands should optimise their website load time to less than 1 sec if they do not want to lose potential customers.

Balancing creative display messages and load time can be a very difficult task to achieve but an acceptable compromise should be to beat the 3 second mark.

The average load time of all websites researched was 2.4 seconds

The quickest websites listed were: 

www.genevievesweb.com
www.bernardboutique.com
www.matchesfashion.com

This is because of a small number of elements on the homepage, speedy hosting and smaller sized graphics.

The slowest websites were:

www.neimanmarcus.com
www.phase-eight.co.uk.
 

Both were very image rich and had large page sizes that slowed the load time to double the acceptable rate.

Communication, Interaction and Translation

A study by Kiss Metrics suggested that a 5% increase in sales could be achieved by simply placing a telephone number in a prominent position on the page.

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  1. Just 28% of online luxury brands have a prominent telephone number on the website.
  2. 90% of brands had a ‘Newsletter Sign Up’ function on the home page.
  3. 12% of brands had newsletter sign ups on the top of the page whilst the remaining 88% had the signup function on the footer of all pages.
  4. 100% of all brands had a site search facility on the top right side of the header design.
  5. All the brands offer worldwide shipping but only 10% offer a language other than English to their customers.
  6. German and French where the second most popular languages provided but were still only offered by 7% of the websites researched. Chinese (Mandarin) was offered on just 3% of websites reviewed.

Category Pages

The design of a website’s category structure is a major factor in generating the most sales possible. Category pages move a user from the home page to the most relevant products as efficiently as possible. The design of category pages and the elements contained within the pages are a significant indicator of a website’s ability to convert users.

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  • 97% of sites had a comprehensive search facility which allowed users to narrow down their selection by colour, price and designer.
  • Bread Crumbing was present in 93% of sites - allowing the customer to navigate back and forth with ease.
  • 100% of sites researched offered relevant high resolution images for each category.
  • 93% of sites had specific categories for each designer.
  • Customers responded positively to seeing specific categories for ‘New Arrivals’ yet only 76% of sites offered this facility.

Product Page

The product page is the single most important page on a retail site and the design is crucial for converting site visitors to sales.

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  • 93% of sites had a prominent “Add to Basket” feature.
  • Just 76% of brands had the “Add to Basket” button above the fold.
  • An “Add to Wishlist” feature is essential for luxury brands as it allows the customer to bookmark desirable items whilst capturing user data for the business. Despite this, only 69% of sites had this function enabled.
  • An estimated delivery time is an advanced feature proven to aid conversion, but only 7% of brands implemented this feature.
  • 3% of brands had their price below the fold. This is known to lower conversion rate.
  • Luisaviaroma is one of just 7% of brands studied which use the “Low Stock” indicator. This can be used to aid conversion rate on fast moving goods.
  • Worldwide sizing guides, roll over images and a large selection of colour buttons where found on over 90% of brands product pages.
  • 83% of sites offered the customer a recommendation of what to wear with the product they were viewing.
  • 43% of the luxury fashion brands analysed have a “Recently Viewed” function so people can quickly navigate to previous items.
  • 17% of brands favoured user reviews offering customers a facility to answer their own questions via a detailed “FAQ” section can greatly aid conversion rates but only 45% sites offered this.

Blog and Social

A business’s blog and social media presence helps to influence the consumer’s decision making process in a number of ways.

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They allow the business to present their products in a dynamic and colourful way. Consumers are savvier in 2014, when researching the products they would like to purchase. Things like interesting blogs, high quality images and videos of products that can be shared on social media provide an element of trust between the company and the consumer.

  • Jimmychoo.com and Matchesfashion.com used product videos effectively. But these sites were in the minority as just 3% of brands had video on their product pages.
  • All brands had some form of social sharing buttons on their site. 100% had Facebook and Twitter accounts, 46% had three social media channels and 33% had four or more social media channels.
  • 62% of the websites listed had a highly graphical blog aimed at providing useful fashion tips.

Delivery

A recent Econsultancy report highlighted the importance of free delivery in the decision making process.

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  • 86% of people questioned cited free shipping as the biggest factor in the decision making process.
  • 34% of sites offered free delivery to the country the site was based in.
  • 31% of sites offered standard local delivery at less than £5.
  • 34% of sites offered standard local delivery at more than £5.
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Mobile

Econsultancy also suggested that sales increase by up to 50% when a retail site had a responsive mobile design.

41% of sites did not have a mobile responsive design version of their website

Conversion Scoring: Methodology

The report scored all 29 of the chosen luxury fashion sites in five main categories shown below:

1. Site Speed Score , Communication, General Web features

  • General website features – Are they in a noticeable position?
  • Prominent telephone number
  • Newsletter sign-up form in a visible place?
  • Comprehensive Site Search functionality
  • USP. Did the business have one? Was it prominent? Would it aid conversion?
  • International Shopping – Selling all over the world?
  • Translation: What other language support was on offer?

2. Performance of Category Pages

  • Sorting facilities – Simple and easy to access and use?
  • Bread crumb trail and navigation
  • Usable category filters – Quick load time?
  • High quality product images of the product
  • Specific designer category onsite?
  • New This Season? Section specifically for new items?

3. Performance of Product Pages

  • Add to Basket – Did the button standout?
  • Add to Basket – Was it located above the fold?
  • Add to Wish list facility
  • Estimated Delivery Notification
  • Was the price of the product above the fold?
  • Low Stock Levels Indicator
  • Size Guide - prominent & worldwide sizing
  • More Colours icon and images
  • Roll over detailed images
  • Were product videos on offer?

4. Recommendations, Delivery and Returns Policy

  • Social Share buttons on the page?
  • But not taking up valuable space?
  • Delivery Costs – How competitive?
  • Returns policy – How easy for the customer?
  • Recommendations – Based on your product selection?
  • Recently Viewed – visible to the customer?
  • Reviews of the products
  • FAQ – information rich and easy to use?
  • Blog – High quality content?

5. Mobile Friendly?

  • Version of the website Designed Specifically for Mobile platforms?
  • Were product videos on offer?

Scoring system

Each website was scored from 1 - 10 with 10 being the highest score in each section. The average of their five scores made up their Conversion Ranking.

The top 29 luxury fashion website ranked by estimated conversion effectiveness


Ranking
Site
General
Category
Product

Recommend

Mobile
Score
1 www.jimmychoo.com 8 8 8 10 10 8.80
2 www.forwardforward.com 10 8 8 6 10 8.40
3 www.montaignemarket.com 9 10 7 6 10 8.40
4 www.hobbs.co.uk 10 10 8 4 10 8.40
5 www.matchesfashion.com 10 10 8 4 10 8.40
6 www.net-a-porter.com 7 10 7 6 10 8.00
7 www.donnaida.com 8 10 7 10 5 8.00
8 www.feathersfashion.com 8 10 7 10 5 8.00
9 www.luisaviaroma.com 8 10 8 4 10 8.00
10 www.mytheresa.com 9 10 7 4 10 8.00
11 www.paulsmith.co.uk 9 10 6 4 10 7.80
12 www.avenue32.com 7 8 6 6 10 7.40
13 www.bernardboutique.com 10 10 5 8 5 7.60
14 www.theoutnet.com 8 10 6 4 10 7.60
15 www.boutique1.com 8 10 7 6 5 7.20
16 www.genevievesweb.com 10 10 6 4 5 7.00
17 www.kurtgeiger.com 5 8 7 4 10 6.80
18 www.bergdorfgoodman.com 9 8 5 6 5 6.60
19 www.brownsfashion.com 2 10 7 6 10 7.00
20 www.lkbennett.com 4 10 7 6 5 6.40
21 www.reiss.co.uk 2 8 7 6 10 6.60
22 www.russellandbromley.co.uk 10 6 5 4 5 6.00
23 www.liberty.co.uk 4 10 7 4 5 6.00
24 www.phase-eight.co.uk 1 10 6 8 10 7.00
25 www.start-london.com 8 10 5 2 5 6.00
26 www.harveynichols.com 1 10 7 4 10 6.40
27 www.pollyanna.com 10 8 6 1 5 6.00
28 www.stylepaste.com 10 3 6 2 5 5.20
29 www.neimanmarcus.com 1 10 4 4 10 5.80

 

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