Luxury Search Requires Balance Between Exclusivity, Familiarity

When it comes to luxury products such as watches and engagement rings, it’s fair to say that most in the general public know very little about the category. So, it’s not necessarily surprising that 60% of traffic to luxury brands’ sites comes from search, according to L2’s recent Insight Report on the Watch and Jewelry sector.

Yet the report also notes that many brands are counting on organic search from generic category terms and/or branded SEO campaigns (i.e. searches specifically tied to their brand names) to direct consumers to their Web sites. In the report’s evaluation of 66 watch and jewelry brands, these two types of searches accounted for 90% of traffic.

On the surface, the rationale seems simple: to maintain an air of exclusivity, luxury brands need to be separate themselves from department stores, grey-market retailers and specialty retailers, where price is often the leading factor for consideration. A simple search for engagement ring, for instance, turns up a crowded list of stores and sales, but little differentiation.



Relying heavily on organic and branded search also targets a more specific consumer who is likely to be further down the purchase path than someone who is simply beginning to think about buying an expensive watch or engagement ring. However, in doing so, they run the risk of losing a potential customer who is only in the discovery phase.

“[Luxury brands] don’t want the customers who are shopping for lower-priced items so they are willing to sacrifice visibility on certain keywords in order to strategically align themselves with the right market,” L2 research associate Elizabeth Elder toldLuxury Daily, adding: “Brands need to continue to invest in their SEO/SEM strategies to stay ahead and make sure they remain visible to the consumer.”

Indeed, the brand that performed the best in organic search for unbranded terms such as “timepiece” or “engagement ring” was Tiffany & Co. The retailer was also an outlier that also had high monthly paid search traffic as well. Few would question the notion that Tiffany & Co. is a leading “exclusive brand,” leaving the impression that investment in search helps it maintain that status.

It’s a balance that may be hard to find, but it can clearly pay dividends in the long run. 

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