Jewelry Brands Ignoring Digital Risk Losing Relevance

Jewelers are failing to take advantage of online opportunities to build their brands, according to a webinar hosted by the think tank L2 on Nov. 14.

The webinar expanded on the findings of a recent L2 study that showed jewelry companies—even those L2 ranked in its top 10 list of digital-savvy brands—were rated only as “average,” “challenged,” or “feeble” when judged on the impact of their overall digital presence. The study also found that 90 percent of brands don’t have mobile site features, and that no jewelry brand has totally embraced Twitter and made it a vital asset. Tiffany & Co. was regarded as a “genius” brand in terms of digital, but the company wasn’t taking risks online as seen in other industries.  

“Some of the industry’s greatest icons are losing relevance as they fall further and further behind,” said L2 founder Scott Galloway. “These brands will lose differentiation if they continue to avoid digital, and be like Levi, a once great brand that faded.”

L2 found that jewelry brands were missing sales opportunities by not taking advantage of branded search terms, and by not integrating their physical stores more on their websites. Seventy-one percent of jewelry brands don’t have e-commerce enabled on their web sites, 97 percent don’t have an option for in-store pickup, and 51 percent don’t have a link to a store locator on the product page.

“Jewelry brands need to start viewing their website as a vehicle to get people into their stores,” said Maureen Mullen, director of research and advisory services for L2.

While jewelry brands are still struggling to embrace online, there are signs of improvement. From 2009 to 2011, Facebook and Twitter communities for jewelry brands have grown 89 percent and 70 percent, respectively, and 75 percent now have a presence on YouTube.

“When a couple more of the big brands fully embrace digital, the rest of the industry will catch up pretty quickly,” said Mullen, who used the fashion industry’s improvement online as an example.

Other findings discussed during the webinar included:

  • In the personal care industry, which is the closet comparison to the watch and jewelry industry, 45 percent of ad dollars are spent on print, but only 6 percent of consumers’ time is spent reading magazines.
  • Two thirds of luxury consumers research online before making a purchase, and two thirds of beauty consumers research online post-purchase.
  • Social networking is now comprised of 30 percent of online ad spend.
  • Six in 10 consumers are returning to discount and auction sites when searching for a branded search term.
  • Fifty percent of all media consumption happens online. Only 19 percent of coporate ad dollars are spent online.
  • More smartphones and tablets being shipped than personal computers. “It doesn’t look like we’re ever headed back,” said Mullen.
  • Fifty percent of Facebook users are college-educated and make more than $50,000 a year. More than 40 percent follow a brand and are more likely to buy from that brand.
  • Seventy-five percent of page reads happen in the top 10 websites, such as Google and Facebook. People are more likely to visit Google and social media sites before interacting with a brand website.
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