L2’s Digital IQ Index: Fashion 2014 benchmarks 90 brands in digital. Analyzing over 850 data-points across site, ecommerce, social media and mobile & tablet, the study highlights brands that are thriving and struggling as luxury consumers become increasingly influenced by digital. Although nine brands successfully defended their positions among the top ten (Michael Kors joining, Marc Jacobs exiting), there has been a significant reshuffling of the deck. Competition at the top of the Index is intensifying, underscored by fewer major points of differentiation. The “Genius” brands (n=4) continue to move towards channel-agnostic sales to deliver a true omnichannel experience.
1. Coach (Tied)
Digital IQ: 144 Coach, the pioneer of in-store pick up continues to provide the most channel-agnostic shopping experience observed across the Index. Coach was one of two brands to demonstrate investment in total supply chain integration, allowing visitors to successfully reserve or pick up items immediately at nearby locations whereas the majority advertising “click-and-collect” services ship the product from distribution services rather than leveraging existing store inventory. Coach also led the handbag category for SEO, appearing in 15% of first-page search results for 237 affiliated keywords.
To stirr interest for their S/S 2015 show, the brand created Coach Backstage, a concert and digital initiative that supports emerging music artists. The project features a digital music chart on coach.com with 40 upcoming artists, bios and selected tracks, updated weekly.
1. Gucci (Tied)
Digital IQ: 144 Gucci is a digital marketing powerhouse. The brand secures the highest share of display impressions in the index, engaging in effective retargeting tactics and numerous ad takeovers of high-profile publishers. Their superior mobile and tablet sites ensure the brand benefits from the tidal shift to mobile & tablet while providing an effective stopgap against their aging desktop site infrastructure. In addition, advanced product pages highlight “limited availability” items in stores and sophisticated online customer service consistently provides an option to consult with a personal shopper (automatically referencing desired SKU in any exchange). In social, coordinated efforts across platforms for the week-long debut of the “Jackie Soft” bag elevated impact of the campaign video featuring Kate Moss, resulting in over one million views of the video.
3. Tory Burch
Digital IQ: 143 Tory Burch performed strongly in omnichannel and content & commerce integration. The sites product pages indicate both online and offline availability–highlighting all available fulfillment options prior to the checkout process. The “Tory Daily” blog and mobile app undercut the bifurcated site experience observed across many peers. The pages feature text and image links to popup product pages so that users can add items to shopping cart, click out and continue browsing the blog. The brand also features curated lookbooks and email gift guides that excel at maximizing items under consideration and facilitating “add all to bag”.
4. Ralph Lauren
Digital IQ: 142 Among Fashion brands, Ralph Lauren maintains the highest search visibility across non-brand keywords (e.g., men’s shirt), competing head to head with SEO specialists in the wider Retail space. In addition, the brand uses aggressive email campaign tactics and goes beyond traditional email sign-up, linking its newsletter opt-in to an ongoing sweepstakes held during its sponsorship with the U.S. Open. Recently, Ralph Lauren moved into the wearable space, launching their Polo Tech shirt that measures biometrics at the U.S. Open and creating their “Ricky bag”, featuring an LED light and build-in USB charger for smartphones.
5. Kate Spade
Digital IQ: 138 Kate Spade demonstrates continuing innovation in shoppable video with “The Waiting Game,” allowing viewers to click on any object in any frame without interrupting the comedic scene starring actress Anna Kendrick. The Brand is also strong across the board on social media, with high engagement on Instagram. On Facebook, Kate Spade leverages promotions of email-gated flash sales to build their email list. Kate Spade also punches above their weight class in customer service, offering live chat despite being a smaller brand in the index.
Digital IQ: 137 Although Burberry was dethroned after three consecutive years as the reigning “Genius” in the L2 Fashion Index, few brands provide better evidence for digital return on shareholder value to date. Although a pioneer in digital innovation (Twitter “Buy” button, Tmall debut in China, etc.), the brand remains hamstrung by aging site infrastructure. Recently, the brand tested a new YouTube beta that adds an overlay of external links that seamlessly integrate with the video viewing experience. This new functionality is most visible on Burberry’s latest campaign, “From London with Love,” a video featuring Romeo Beckham. The video alone is a success – it racked up five million views in its first week. It now accounts for 15 percent of the total number of views on Burberry’s YouTube channel, which registers a weekly upload frequency four times the Index average.
7. Diane Von Furstenberg
Digital IQ: 134 Expanded social media focus beyond Google+ helped double Diane Von Furstenberg’s direct reach on Facebook since 2013, while November’s launch of “House of DVF” TV show enhanced search equity. To take advantage of brand interest from the TV show, DVF created shoppable product pages that can be filtered by cast member, episode or apparel category.
8. Tommy Hilfiger
Digital IQ: 133 Tommy Hilfiger takes advantage of email technology to deliver a seamless and personalized experience. The brand garnered the highest email frequency in the index, 7.8 emails over a three month period vs. the index average of 1.7. Advanced email personalization links user actions on site to inbox missives, recommending similar products visitors may have missed or sending sales alerts on products that did not convert (the first time).
9. Calvin Klein (Tied)
Digital IQ: 130 To launch the campaign #mycalvins in February 2014, the brand tapped some 100 influencers from 15 countries, who have a combined reach of more than 250 million followers on social media. Learning from the success of the campaign, Calvin Klein’s most recent #mycalvins ad featured Justin Bieber. The campaign generated 3.6 million followers since the campaign launched two weeks ago and garnered 1.6 million Twitter mentions within 48 hours, according to WWD.
9. Michael Kors (Tied)
Digital IQ: 130
Michael Kors’ (MK) transition to in-house e-commerce site includes mobile optimization that immediately pairs visitors with nearest store, anticipating omnichannel demands of mobile customers. MK is the only brand that immediately asks visitors for their location, allowing the site to auto-populate a persistent “Nearest Store” field. On Facebook, MK has the second highest interactions per post (38,000—12 times the Index at large), greatly exceeding the level of engagement projected for their established communities.