By Lenore Fedow
New York—Gartner L2 has released its “Digital IQ Index” for watches and jewelry, its annual report that ranks the online effectiveness of the world’s most well-known brands.

For the report, the New York-based research firm measured more than 1,250 data points around site and e-commerce, digital marketing, social media, and mobile, to rate the digital competency of 83 watch and jewelry brands.

The brands that made it to the top of the list all had one thing in common—investing in their online presence—though, overall, the industry continues to lag online, the report concludes.

“Digital competence in the watches and jewelry sector remains low, allowing digitally native newcomers, pre-owned and gray market sites, and retailers to outperform older brands on key digital touchpoints like search and site experience,” Gartner L2 said in its report.

The cream-of-the-crop brands made investments in website design, product imagery, live chat customer service, and other features to improve the shopping experience and sharpen their competitive edge.

Here are the top 10, as ranked by Gartner L2.

1) Cartier

Topping the list is Cartier, which has made significant investments in its omnichannel capabilities and was also a top five investor in digital advertising this year, according to Gartner L2. Although slow to make use of Instagram’s Story feature, Cartier is strong on engagement, with more than 8 million followers.

2) Tiffany & Co.

In the No. 2 spot sits Tiffany & Co with its improved website, including 360-degree product views and videos, as well as an integrated appointment booking feature. The iconic American jeweler is a leader in YouTube pre-video ads and boasts a substantial social media presence.

3) Bulgari

Bulgari snagged a spot in the top three after amping up its website, including adding more product imagery and offering a live chat feature during checkout. Its video advertising campaign for “To B or not to B,” combined with its strong Instagram Stories engagement, boosted the brand as well.

4) Pandora

Pandora came in fourth place after enhancing its on-site experience, including keyword search and visual filters, and also has the largest email list of the brands in Gartner L2’s study. The company’s push for mobile web advertising during holidays, like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, as well as its Instagram collaboration with Disney were particularly successful.

5) Swarovski

Swarovski’s sleek, easy-to-navigate website, complete with a detailed store locator to encourage in-store visits, garnered it the fifth spot. The brand’s collaboration with model Karlie Kloss led to massive YouTube viewership and the study touted its strong engagement on Instagram.
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6) TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer came in sixth place after increasing its investments in display advertising and stepped up its social media game, specifically YouTube. The watch company was also the only brand in the study that offered same-day shipping.

7) Alex and Ani

Alex and Ani, known for its signature bangles, found its way to seventh place via its product quizzes, which tell users about their “soul number,” “power animal,” and “personal blueprint.” Besides its quirky quizzes, Gartner L2’s study noted the brand’s use of showcase ads and its “strong visibility on unbranded search.”

8) David Yurman

David Yurman used a variety of tactics to snag the eighth spot, but its appointment booking feature stood out, driving its in-store traffic. Gartner L2’s study also highlighted its one-page checkout and its free expedited shipping.

9) Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott’s savvy use of social media brought the brand to ninth place. The study notes that the brand was an early adopter of shoppable Instagram Stories, adding in fun graphics and product giveaways to boost engagement.

10) Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels landed in the 10th spot with its easy-to-shop site, with notable live chat and appointment booking features. The study also highlighted the brand’s high email open rates.

Tips and Tricks from Analysts

Gartner analysts recommend prioritizing the customer experience when designing websites, including adding features like live chat and mobile-friendly checkout.

“Functionality that consumers need for basic product research remains unfulfilled by many brand sites, requiring consumers to instead look on third parties, which leads to site bounce,” said the report.

Search is one of the most important tools when consumers look to purchase online, especially in a high-consideration and high-price sector.

“Paid investment on search is key to defend top-of-page territory, set price expectations, and divert traffic away from second-hand retail threats,” according to the report.

Analysts also suggest diversifying content across social media networks, noting that educational content works for Instagram Stories while YouTube reviews are beneficial for driving traffic to the site.

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