Luxury goods websites encourage impulse shopping

The transition to digital operations is a major strategic challenge for leading luxury labels. In the last few years, they have gradually embraced e-tailing in order to reach out to a new clientele and also keep pace with consumers increasingly devoted to online shopping.

The Chanel website's home page - DR

ContentSquare, a French specialist in online user experience analysis and optimisation, has carried out a survey of the online experience afforded by luxury brands on the one hand, and other e-tailers on the other. In order to do so, it scrutinised over 125 million navigation sessions between November 2016 and February 2017, across five luxury goods websites and 19 other e-commerce sites. Six countries made up 95% of the sample: France, the UK, Spain, the USA, Belgium and Germany. 

One of the survey's most remarkable findings concerned impulse shopping. This type of purchase is more frequent on luxury labels' websites, where 45% of purchases take place over the first two visits, compared to less than 40% for other e-tailers. Visitors of luxury sites are indeed more active right from their first visit: 13% of them in fact view more than 6 products, while only 5% of other sites' visitors do so.

And this despite the fact that luxury label customers spend a length of time on product descriptions, thirty seconds on average, that is two times shorter than that spent on other e-commerce sites. In general, luxury website visitors are better informed on products and their features.

However, the conversion rate in non-luxury e-commerce sites is two to three times higher than for luxury labels. According to the survey, only 1% of major labels' visitors display an "ideal behaviour", meaning one that would make them true brand "ambassadors" and loyal customers.

Luxury brands have placed a great emphasis on recreating their world and telling their unique stories through their digital platforms. This translates into inspirational content, whether videos or ad campaign pictures, playing a leading part on their sites.

But these efforts do not yet seem to be bearing fruit, as it is pages with product listings and descriptions which appeal the most to visitors. The survey explains this fact with the slowness with which pages featuring inspirational content are actually downloaded. There is a 50% chance of luxury brands' visitors quitting the site if the download time exceeds 5 seconds, while product pages show up much more quickly.

Only 9% of interviewees have spent more than one minute on this type of content. The current challenge for luxury labels is therefore to enable this type of content to reach visitors, a must to boost their online customers' loyalty.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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