Burberry has taken back the reigns as fashion and retail’s most digitally adept brand, at least according to L2 Inc.’s Digital IQ Index: Fashion.
After slipping from the top spot to sixth last year, the U.K.-based brand came in first place in the study, which measured 83 brands on metrics including Web site and e-commerce, digital marketing, social media, and mobile and tablet.
Burberry made use of “It” platforms like Periscope and Snapchat and an upgrade to its mobile platform, leading it to a three-fold increase in mobile sales this year. It was one of two brands to garner a “genius” rating from L2.
“Burberry is a story of mobile. It’s the only brand that seems to not only get these ‘cool kid’ platforms — they are the only ones that have pulled off programming at scale on Snapchat,” said Scott Galloway, founder of L2 Inc. and New York University marketing professor. “They perfectly lived up to the hype that they consistently generate.”
The only other brand deemed a digital “genius” by L2 was the study’s runner-up, Kate Spade. Last year, there were four genius brands: Coach, Gucci, Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren came in third place this year, and dropped from “genius” to “gifted.”
“Online is becoming a winner-take-all. Ten brands account for two-thirds of all traffic,” Galloway said.
He noted that while fashion is fragmented off-line, the complete opposite holds true online where the category is saturated.
“It’s a bunch of big brands and upstarts that are doing well,” he said, rattling off Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Tory Burch as brands that perennially excel in digital.
Doing well digitally has become about the less flashy aspects and more about enhancing the omnichannel piece and connecting systems from site to store. For instance, Burberry now has click and collect, or buy online and pick up in-store, at 200 locations worldwide and keeps track of inventory at a global scale with endless aisle applications on iPads.
Maureen Mullen, head of research at L2 Inc., added that Louis Vuitton and Fendi have also adopted click-and-collect services over the past year — as many fashion brands are for the first time looking beyond marketing investments to assess how digital spend is affecting the commercial aspects of their businesses.
Even so, a third of the 83 brands in the study invested in Snapchat this year and Instagram remains the social network of choice for fashion. In terms of absolute engagement on the Facebook-owned image and video sharing platform, Valentino was the winner.
“Valentino bested Michael Kors for [L2’s Instagram] crown,” Mullen said of Valentino, which came in 25th place in the index with a “gifted” ranking. Kors, although lagging behind Valentino in terms of Instagram engagement, still came in eighth place in the study, also with a “gifted” ranking.
Valentino posts about 35 times per week on Instagram, and Mullen said this frequency was key. She also pointed to campaign activity and the buzzy “Zoolander” cameo during March’s fashion show, as driving a ton of earned media for Valentino on the platform.