From e-commerce to m-commerce – can luxury brands take on the challenge?


21 April 2015

The big day has arrived: from today onwards, Google will give priority, in their search results, to those sites that are adapted to mobile formats. This move is clearly in line with the evolution of Internet browsing – since last year (Article in Spanish), the number of users who access the Internet from their smartphone outperforms ADSL. This jump to mobile browsing is putting luxury brands with online stores on the ropes, thus accelerating their digital transformation and leading them to restructure their strategies to face up to the challenge of m-commerce (i.e. mobile commerce).

Online stores that want to appear at the top of search results should not neglect this new requirement that has been added to the famous Google algorithm. According to recent studies, the mobile phone is the most important gateway for online businesses, but in spite of this, direct rates of allocation and conversion are not as high as expected (53% of consumers surveyed in this study have never bought anything through their mobile phones). For now, they spend a significant amount of time on their mobile phones, especially when in public, gathering information, etc., and then later, they sit at their computers to make a purchase or to scroll through an online store to complete an already-started process.

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The purchase scenarios have multiplied; are luxury brands prepared to provide the best possible service on all their channels – both physical and digital alike?

The digital presence of luxury brands

Using a testing tool that measures the optimization of mobile phones for Google, and visiting their web pages, we have analyzed 15 luxury brands in the Spanish market.

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Initially, we analyzed the adaptation of their websites to mobile devices, and we found that majority of them already had tailored and optimized websites. Good step.

Afterwards, we checked if they had online stores or not – surprisingly, only half of the brands analyzed sold online, which shows once again that this is a rather conservative sector, in which brands are cautious in their e-commerce strategies.

As a counterpoint, majority of the websites that do not have e-commerce do incorporate a store locator on their product files, thus helping consumers to complete their purchasing journey in their physical stores. Based on the latest data regarding consumers’ use of mobile devices for research and comparison, they still eventually end up in the physical store; therefore, this strategy of including a an easy to use store locator is a huge plus for these companies, especially while they’re in the process of developing their e-commerce.

Also, most websites analyzed have social buttons through which to share their product listings on social networks, encouraging recommendations by their users, even though only one of the analyzed websites (Lavinia) includes, alongside their products, the possibility for either experts or users to write reviews.

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Some of the most interesting aspects of the pages analyzed include:

  • Bulgari includes a GeoLocator that tells the user the closest store to them, without having them complete any form.
  • Chanel has suggestions of product combinations – providing the user with a complete look; or the cosmetics that best combine with those that the viewer is looking at.
  • Dior, in their fashion collections, includes chat buttons, for communication in real time with a fashion consultant, or to request a call for advice; the latter is also used by Burberry.
  • Kiehl’s includes product suggestions based on past searches, as well as saving the products users last visited, in order for them to return to it easily. They also provide online skin diagnosis that suggests products based on your characteristics.
  • Cartier publishes all their product prices on its website, and offers the possibility to make telephone orders.
  • Lancôme includes an express purchase option, which enables the user to complete a purchase in just a few clicks.

Basically, there are two key elements that will revolutionize product purchases in this sector:

  • Direct purchases on social networks: in July this year, both Facebook and Twitter announced that they will soon launch direct purchase systems, which link credit cards to consumers.
  • The possibility to make direct purchases through social networks on mobile phones: more than 16 million users per month access Facebook through their mobile phones.

Both Google and the major social platforms will base their strategies on access to content through mobile devices, therefore, those brands in the industry that have chosen to have a digital identity with a presence in local markets will have a competitive advantage of inestimable commercial value.

There are still many luxury brands that only have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, with global profiles in English that lack of closeness to the local consumer; this is likely to negatively affect this phase of Social Business.

At Territorio creativo, we are evolving these brand strategies on social networks, based on corporate communication, in order to elevate business strategies. We do this by integrating payment gateways on social profiles and implementing tools for social CRM (Article in Spanish), which are capable of translating users’ information on Facebook and Twitter into a database of potential customers interested in the brand, its products and its services.