Luxe Brands Still Lag In Mobile


More people may be shopping and browsing on mobile devices, but luxury brands have made little additional investment in mobile in the last year to capitalize on that shift.

That’s the conclusion of the second annual study of “prestige” brands’ mobile offerings by digital think tank L2.

Citing various research sources, the report notes that nearly one in four site visits originates from a mobile phone or tablet, a fifth of search traffic is driven by mobile queries and 23% of Google Searches for prestige brand terms originate from a mobile device, up from 14% last year.

However, L2 does spotlight examples of some companies and brands innovating in mobile. These include Zegna, Benefit Cosmetics, Montblanc, Nordstrom, Conrad, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Kiehl’s and Crate & Barrel.



Among the study's key findings:

--Only 57% of the 100 brands examined offer an optimized m-commerce experience. Nearly a third of brands rely exclusively on their desktop site to sell items available online to mobile consumers.

--Only a quarter of prestige brands pursue mobile-specific paid-search strategy -- actively optimizing ad copy and links to make the most of small-screen real estate.

--27% of the 238 apps produced by prestige brands for the iOS platform have never been updated following the initial release, signaling experimentation versus a commitment to refining engaging apps that “stick.”

--Only 10 of the 100 brands studied have launched an iPad or tablet specific site. Eight still redirect tablet users to mobile sites tailored to mobile phone screens.

--Despite getting more bookings from tablets than smartphones, less than a quarter (23%) utilize “swipe” browsing on tablets to ease navigation.

--The 100 brands introduced 94 new apps for iOS devices and pulled 52. The mixed investment is indicative of an industry still struggling with the underlying utility of native mobile apps. More than half of new apps (53%) have been for the iPad.

Unlike last year's study, the latest L2 mobile report doesn’t rank the leading 100 luxury brands based on their mobile properties, instead focusing more broadly on differences across platforms and mobile services.

Montblanc, for instance, launched an app inviting users to submit a single image at a certain time each day as part of a global photo contest. Participants were able to share photos via social media, and winners were awarded a Montblanc watch. The contest helped the company increase its Facebook fan base 68% to 150,000 in the fourth quarter.

Some brands have also taken steps to combat “showrooming.” Crate & Barrel’s wedding and gift registry app, for example, allows users to scan items in stores without help from a sales assistant. Kiehl’s “Snap & Shop” app allows iPhone owners to interact with its new “Shopping Wall” exhibits that fulfill orders directly from its Web site. 


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