By Rachel Lamb at Luxury Daily
The luxury sector’s digital strategy stretches from Web sites to social media marketing and online advertising. However, the ecommerce site is the one that brings home the bacon. Ecommerce sites account for a huge portion of the brand’s revenue, while connecting users with luxury companies in a way that hasn’t been done before.
“Luxury retailers need to keep their brand promise to their loyalists,” said Danielle Savin, vice president of multichannel retail and marketing at FitForCommerce, Short Hills, NJ, a best practices ecommerce consulting firm.
“The sites need to be more innovative, to show and somehow emulate design and create excitement about the product and the brand,” she said. “Luxury retailers will never be about price but having an ecommerce site allows them to create the ultimate show room of 100 percent of their merchandise, including exclusives.”
Here are the top 10 ecommerce sites of 2010:
Swarovski – This ecommerce Web site opens with a bright and colorful digital display that draws the consumers in. The images are constantly changing depending on holidays or time of year. The online shop separates by categories and pieces on a side menu, but also has organized rows in the middle of the screen with images of best-selling pieces and new products.
Clicking on a product brings users to its individual page where they can zoom to intricately see the item and also click on different views.
Below, recommended items are shown that complement the item the user is looking at. The user can opt to recommend the product by sending it through email, and the user can put the item in their shopping cart whenever possible. Swarovski saw a 1,167 percent increase in Web traffic on its ecommerce site during the holiday season (see story). The ecommerce site is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing and minimizes the amount of clicks it takes to buy a product.
bonus video : Luxury brands crash the Web – France24
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Marc Jacobs – This ecommerce site is interactive and playful while also being functional.
The screen opens with an image of a bricks-and-mortar store with Marc Jacobs standing out front inviting the consumer into the store. Clicking on the “Enter” button brings the consumer to what looks like the inside of a retail location, with different lines on different floors, as well as tables with products on them.
The items on the tables can be clicked on to see the individual product pages, but running over the item with the mouse also gives product information to users. The individual product page shows sizes, colors and view options. It also has an option to put the item into a shopping bag. The site is social media-functional with links to share products on Facebook, Twitter and through email. Marc Jacobs launched its ecommerce site this year, despite the head start most of its competitors had (see story).
Donna Karan – The New York-based designer launched two ecommerce sites this year, the luxury Donna Karan New York and the more affordable DKNY (see story). Donna Karan New York’s homepage lists categories above images of products depending on the season or time of year.
The categories have drop-down menus, making the site easy to navigate and gives details about the products mentioned. Donna Karan’s personal journal makes consumers feel more attached to the brand because they are able to learn about the designer.
In this section, users can learn about Donna Karan, the brand’s philanthropy work, women who inspire the brand and Donna’s favorite things. The ecommerce site makes buying products easy to increase the revenue made.
Stella McCartney – The designer’s new online store, which now extends to Britain as well as the U.S., separates its products into different categories that feel like completely different sites (see story).
The sections are divided into Collections, Stella’s World, Shop Stella and Stella’s Kids. These images can be zoomed in on, added to a wishlist and shared on Facebook, Twitter and through email.Each subsection of the category has a different category to ensure easy navigation.
All items put in the check-out bag are easy to view because clicking on the icon at the top of the screen folds out with the names of the products and their images. The total is at the bottom of the bag. The site is easy to navigate with a search icon at the top of the screen and also features a store locator with closest retail locations.
Nordstrom – The luxury retailer’s site is bright, colorful and completely functional despite the mass amount of products on it. Consumers can browse the site through brand, department or collections.
Some products from designers are available exclusively on the ecommerce site. When a product is selected, recommended and similar items are shown on the same page to entice consumers with accessories like shoes and handbags. At check-out, the consumer has the option to have the product shipped, or to pay online and pick the item up at the store.
When the item is available, the consumer is emailed with where to pick the item up. Nordstrom’s ecommerce site makes buying luxury goods accessible and easy.
Clicking on the eshopping icon brings up Louis Vuitton’s many lines including men’s and women’s apparel, eyewear, luggage and shoes. Each section has a short video where the consumer can learn about the brand and the specific category that they clicked on. The brand makes ecommerce easy for global consumers because it ships to many places around the world. – The online upscale retailer has mastered the art of ecommerce through its sales and membership-only services.
Gilt Groupe – The online upscale retailer has mastered the art of ecommerce through its sales and members-only services. The site has sales every day, either designer-, product- or gender-based, on luxury products discounted up to 90 percent off.
Gilt offers perks to its members, such as free shipping and the chance to get credit based on what friends buy. The site offers the latest products from major brands such as Tory Burch, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs.
Tiffany & Co. – The jewelry designer’s ecommerce site attracts consumers with images of its legendary engagement rings and limited-time offers on its homepage. Consumers can browse through jewelry online by searching through the many collections and contributing designers. Product pages will come up with offers to add to bag or share on Facebook, Twitter or through email.
There is also a chance for consumers to choose the perfect engagement or wedding ring by selecting their preferred setting, diamond shape and metal. The rings can be looked at via 360-degree views with zooming features. Consumers can share these on social media sites and can speak with an expert at Tiffany’s on the phone or schedule an in-store visit.
The different ways that the brand strives to ensure that consumers are satisfied is what makes this ecommerce site excel.
The ecommerce site splits its inventory into collections by gender, season and product that make it easy to navigate through. All content can be printed out or shared on media networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and can be sent through email. Gucci also has a gallery of its past campaigns, what is new right now, children’s lines and charity work.
The ecommerce site not only allows consumers to buy Gucci products, but its interactive and informative content lets consumers behind the scenes.
Ralph Lauren – The end of the year brought many changes for the Ralph Lauren’s Web site.
One was that the brand extended its strategy to Britain, so that British consumers can now buy the brand online. Another is its interactive Make-Your-Own flag polo feature. Consumers can pick the colors of their shirt or fleece, select a flag from whatever country they want and then put text such as initials or a name.
The changes for the ecommerce site show that the brand wants to keep its consumers interested and the extended product line not only satisfy their consumer base but increases revenue as well.
“There needs to be a different set of rules for luxury ecommerce to set them apart from the retail masses,” FitForCommerce’s Ms. Savin said. “In some ways, they will lead the way for other online retailers with new features and functionality to keep the browser and customer interested and coming back often.”