As online shopping becomes a widely accepted norm and the consumer shift to the digital completely changed the face of our high street, even the luxury brands recognised they must sell online or fall into obscurity. The generation of Millennial shoppers who will determine the future of the retail simply cannot imagine the world without Internet, 24/7 mobile connectivity and social media. High street retail had to adopt the digital first, of course not without causalities. And now between Christie’s online auction and Tiffany’s diamond tennis bracelets there is simply no product category or maximum price limit for things bought or sold online.
However there is still certain lack of understanding and trust of ecommerce and digital marketing among luxury sector. There are still high-end fashion brands that put all their marketing budgets into traditional offline media to drive traffic to their brick and mortars using their websites as online catalogues. Of course branding is important for luxury brands, but for an ecommerce site to perform to its full potential it needs to be properly managed an promoted through combination of online marketing channels.
The search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing are often the very first starting points in the customer’s shopping journey. According to Google on average 9 out of 10 sales have been search referred. New customers who have never heard about your brand before wouldn’t be putting brand terms into the search box. Instead they will be using generic product terms. To tap into this audience you need to make sure that your site is optimised and ranks for a wide range of generic product terms.
Even in the top luxury sector, where 82% of purchases still happen in- store, 78% of shoppers research online before buying. When researching online only 7% of shoppers start their search with the manufacturer’s or the retailer’s brand name. Majority of shoppers start with the generic product category keywords e.g. “black evening dress”. They then narrow their search by adding manufacturer or retailer’s name based on whom they find in their first search. If your site doesn’t come up on the first page of search results for these generic terms it is very unlikely you would be found by majority of customers looking for your products. So it is absolutely crucial to have a good exposure in search engines.
On the way SEO is even more important for brand awareness than print or TV advertising, because of the declining consumption of the traditional media and increasing trust towards online information sources. In order to be visible for the relevant for your brand terms your SEO strategy needs to be based on a thorough keywords research and correct implementation of on-page technical optimisation of your site.
The third equally important element of SEO is off page optimisation or backlink building, which nowadays takes increasingly the form of blogger outreach, content marketing and social media marketing.
Incidentally both blogger outreach and content marketing (when done properly) are very effective at driving referral traffic and sales to you’re your site. They also help spread the word about your brand in a more personal interactive way than traditional print and TV advertising. So they can be considered as part of branding exercise. In the modern world of social media and virtual friendships social media platforms are really your customer care channel. Whether you want it or not online community will judge your brand’s customer service by your social media footprint or lack of it.
Keywords research, on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation are each topics in their own right and merit several dedicated articles if not a book. We will add regular articles on the topic in the future. So watch this space and subscribe to our newsletter to be notified.