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L2 Scores Cartier, Zale as Digitally Challenged

Aug 7, 2013 9:00 AM   By Deena Taylor
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RAPAPORT... The use of digital media to grow online and offline sales is a recipe for growth that has had a positive impact on the specialty retail sector, including some jewelers, according to a recent report by L2 Think Tank. However, there is a long way to go in tapping the full potential of ecommerce and cross-channel influence, according to the group. digital iq

L2 measured the ''digital IQ'' of specialty retailers, including Tiffany & Co., Zale, Fossil, Kay Jewelers, Swatch, Cartier and others, by weighing the function and content of the websites, digital marketing strategy, mobile compatibility and social media presence. L2 then assigned its benchmark definitions of ''Genius,'' the highest level of digital competence, ''Gifted,'' a strong level of innovation and experimentation, ''Average'' or just functional and predictable, and ''Challenged,'' which reflected poor execution and inconsistent platforms. The last category, ''Feeble,'' is self explanatory.

In general trends, the report found that 28 percent of specialty retailers now offer 24/7 customer service, which is up 10 percent from 2012. Live chat is also on the rise with 28 percent of retailers, including Kay Jewelers, having implemented this function recently. Another new digital offering by retailers is PayPal checkout, which has been implemented by 46 percent of retailers, up threefold since 2012.

In terms of social media importance, Pinterest and Instagram have joined Facebook and YouTube as ''must be there'' platforms. Facebook continued to be the leading source of social media upstream traffic to retailers, especially for jewelers;  however, the report noted that some categories are starting to shift. Jewelry and watches retailers reported that 76 percent of referral traffic came from Facebook, 9 percent from YouTube and 5 percent from Pinterest.

The study also found that regarding digital marketing, retailers drove 8.7 percent of their website traffic, on average, from email marketing activities.  While email frequency varied dramatically by product category, the report showed the jewelry category as the weakest performer with email frequency of only 0.57 weekly emails, accounting for 4 percent of website traffic, compared with 2.49 weekly emails from beauty and skincare brands that drove website traffic up 14 percent on average. 

Overall, L2 ranked Sephora as the specialty retail industry's only Genius for the best execution of digital strategy and platform integration. Of retailers that sell jewelry, Coach, Tiffany & Co. and Kate Spade were ranked as Gifted, while Swarovski, Fossil, Swatch, Kay Jewelers and Michael Kors were rated as  Average. L2 labeled Cartier and Zale as digitally Challenged with much improvement required to tap ecommerce  opportunities. Vince Camuto and Massimo Dutti were scored Feeble.

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Tags: Cartier, Deena Taylor, digital marketing, e-mail, facebook, Fossil, Kay Jewelers, L2, Pinterest, Swatch, Tiffany
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