By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
 New York--Digitally savvy jewelry brands are improving their web and mobile presences as the gap between them and those that are digitally deficient widens, a recent study by L2 shows.

A number of factors--including weak Asian markets, the rising influence of branded jewelry, and the emergence of “non-traditional sources of competition”--are shaking up the industry and changing the status quo, L2 reported in its .

This means that companies need to identify digital strengths and weaknesses to remain competitive.

For its Digital IQ reports, L2 scores brands on the effectives of their website (comprising 40 percent of total score), digital marketing efforts (30 percent), social media efforts (15 percent) and mobile capabilities (15 percent).

L2 then ranks each brand based on their score: “Genius” (140 +), “Gifted” (110-139), “Average” (90-109), “Challenged” (70-89) and “Feeble” (<70).

Four brands--David Yurman, Tiffany & Co., Alex and Ani, and Swarovski--scored in the Genius category. Tiffany’s and Swarovski both also scored in this category in L2’s 2013 jewelry and watch brand study, while the other two are new.

Listed among the Gifted are a number of Richemont brands, which remained the highest scoring multi-brand organization, according to L2. Notable Gifted brands from the conglomerate included Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Montblanc, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget and IWC.

In general, watch brands made a strong showing in the Gifted category, which also included Shinola, Tourneau, Tissot, TAG Heuer and Movado.

The study also notes that while only 10 percent of brands offer an omnichannel strategy, the “digital integration” of the local boutiques is becoming more sophisticated.

One-third of brands let shoppers email customer service representatives directly from product pages on the web, 17 percent reference the last item viewed in exchanges with customer service, and 12 percent allow shoppers to request a call back or schedule a local appointment.

Yet, L2 also notes that since it started tracking the websites in 2010, adoption of e-commerce has slowed after reaching 50 percent.

Mobile optimization also is becoming ubiquitous with jewelry and watch brands--11 brands launched mobile sites this year, meaning that two-thirds of the brands studied now have mobile-optimized properties.

And while tablets drive a lower percentage of total site traffic than other mobile devices, they account for a higher conversion and larger average order values--a factor that brands are beginning to recognize in their mobile strategies.

The adoption of tablet-friendly and even tablet-first design has increased greatly; over two-thirds of sites now support the vertically-oriented design and large-format menus that facilitate ease of use on tablets.



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