Jewelry Industry Still Struggling Online



Tiffany & Co. and Swarovski were again named the most innovative online jewelers in the recently published L2 Digital IQ Index: Watches and Jewelry.

The index measured and ranked the digital performance of 72 luxury brands across four areas: effectiveness of a brand’s website, digital marketing, social media, and mobile marketing.

The study gave the two companies “gifted” status because of Tiffany’s m-commerce site and “a flair for cross-platform programming,” and Swarovski’s large Facebook community, as well as having the most trafficked website. Both companies saw triple-digit growth in its number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes.

However, the rest of the jewelry companies profiled in the study—even those in the top 10—were rated only as “average,” “challenged,” or “feeble.” The industry is struggling to embrace online because brands are afraid of losing control and have “yet to identify a way to effectively translate their rich heritage into a distinct online voice,” Daniella Caplan, a researcher at L2, tells JCK.

“A heavy reliance on third-party retail has meant that only 30 percent of these brands are e-commerce enabled,” Caplan says. “Our research shows that once a brand starts selling online it starts investing across other digital channels such as search, mobile, and social media.”

Jaeger-LeCoultre, David Yurman, Cartier, Omega, TAG Hauer, Longines, Montblanc, and Pandora were also in the top 10, but were ranked as being “average.” Bulgari, Hublot, and IWC Schaffhausen were also considered “average.”

Bulova, Baccarat, Rolex, Franck Muller, H.Stern, Officine Panerai, Buccellati, Graff Diamonds, Fabergé, and Patek Philippe were deemed “feeble.”

Audemars Piguet, Raymond Weil, Chopard, Mikimoto, De Beers, Baume et Mercier, Piaget, Movado, Breitling, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin, and Bulova fell into the “challenged” category

Caplan suggests that jewelers implement online features—enabling user reviews, social plug-ins on product pages and in-store pickup—and invest in more traditional digital practices such as search and email. She noted that many of the brands failed to send a welcome email after registration and that less than 50 percent are purchasing their own keywords. 

“The brands have not regressed, but they haven’t progressed tremendously either,” says Caplan. “Digital innovation is rapid and so standing still or moving slowly is inevitably leaving watch and jewelry brands far behind their luxury peers in the fashion and beauty categories that have made significant advances in the past 12 months.”