New York—Bally topped the list of best overall website in a survey of affluent consumers’ preferences in luxury websites.
In its “2011 Luxury Online Customer Experience Index” survey, the Luxury Institute asked affluent shoppers who earn $150,000 a year or more for specific likes and dislikes on 24 websites of top luxury brands.
“Many luxury retailers execute good online experiences while others show dramatic room for improvement in specific areas like navigability or ease of use,” said Milton Pedraza, ceo at Luxury Institute. “Luxury consumers are the only true judges of online customer experiences. They are eagerly waiting for the first luxury fashion brand that will deliver a seamless and fantastic multichannel experience.”
While Bally earned the highest overall composite score, the Swiss luxurygoods brand was closely by Chanel and Tory Burch. These affluent consumers rated the sites based upon visual appeal, navigability, product selection, use of images and text in helping them better understand product features, security of personal data, ease of purchasing and access to customer service.
Included in the survey were: Balenciaga, Bally, Hermes, Hugo Boss, Brooks Brothers, Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Michael Kors, Coach, Prada, Dior, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Bahama, Ferragamo, Tory Burch, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.
“Having a seamless multichannel customer experience is the most important thing as customers want to be able to easily find information and better understand the details and features of products instead of having to go to a store,” Meera Raja, marketing manager at Luxury Institute told Luxury Daily.
“Making sure the website is easy to navigate and visually appealing of course will enhance their overall experience,” she said.
Room for Improvement Customer Service
Many consumers, including those in this one, apparently use websites to browse and “pre-shop.”
“Although 64% of wealthy consumers are visiting fashion designer websites to browse, shop or check out the latest designs, only 37% actually report making purchases on these sites,” Raja said.
One of the problems with many luxury website is that there’s more attention devoted to the aesthetics than to ease of use. Since affluent consumers are surfing the net on their own time and convenience, luxury marketers need to exceed expectations.
“Luxury fashion designer brands need to develop unique marketing strategies for their online presence in order to exceed customer expectations,” Raja said.
That includes customer service especially. “Customer satisfaction with interacting with luxury fashion websites had the lowest index scores in the survey,” she said. “Given the amount of time spent on the web by wealthy consumers today, luxury brands must push the boundaries to provide extraordinary customer experiences online.”