DIGITAL DRAMA: Luxury labels have improved the digital experience they offer to customers by eight percent in the last quarter of 2014, according to new research released this week by the digital direct marketing firm ContactLab, and Exane BNP Paribas.

The two organizations have produced a tool called the Digital Competitive Map for the luxury sector, and found that Gucci performed best in terms of its digital customer experience, which takes into account factors such as the online purchase experience, Web navigation and how a brand is experienced across different digital channels.

Gucci ranked top of the organizations’ digital customer experience table with a score of 114, followed by Louis Vuitton with a score of 102; Tiffany with 100; Cartier with 99 and Ralph Lauren with 95.

The report’s authors, Exane BNP Paribas’ luxury analysts Luca Solca, Paola Bertini and Hui Fan, noted that during the three-month period, seven of the 28 brands that were surveyed had refreshed their Web design, while five firms — Brunello Cucinelli, Cartier, Loro Piana, Michael Kors and Tod’s — introduced mobile sites.

Some 26 of the 28 firms surveyed now have mobile sites, which the report noted “is particularly important, as our data suggest that the majority of customer interactions — i.e. email openings — take place on mobile.”

In terms of e-commerce strategic reach, however, a different clutch of luxury labels is leading the charge. The report found that Burberry ranked top in e-commerce strategic reach — which looks at factors such as e-commerce geographical  reach, the languages on a Web site, and how many products are sold on a brand’s site.

Among the companies that followed Burberry were Armani; Brunello Cucinelli; Balenciaga; Moncler and Valentino. As a whole, the 28 luxury labels researched improved their e-commerce strategic reach by 4 percent over the Sept. to Dec. 2014 period. “This demonstrates a level of cautiousness still present in decisions made by senior management and…the complexity of implementing all aspects linked to e-commerce expansion at a global level,” the organizations said.

Commenting on the report, Massimo Fubini, chief executive officer and founder of ContactLab, which owns the Digital Competitive Map, said: “To support a sales strategy which is able to generate a significant impact on a brand’s overall turnover, a digital content strategy is increasingly being implemented to encourage customers’ loyalty,” he said.

“Email has proved to be the most suitable method for building a long-term relationship. Every purchasing experience, whether online or off-line, is a point of contact which must be taken advantage of in order to build the customer’s loyalty.”

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