By Paul Skeldon

To understand how luxury brands are using the Internet to grow their markets, digital experience monitoring company Catchpoint has analysed how their ecommerce sites perform in two of the major luxury consumer goods markets – the USA and China. The findings suggest that some luxury retailer’s ecommerce strategies may be faltering through web performance problems.

Catchpoint analysed ecommerce site performance of 25 luxury brands in Q4 2016. The top five performers were Patek Philipe, Porsche, Rolex, Dior, and Chanel. Each site loaded in 2.3 seconds or less. In Q4, the average median webpage load time for desktop luxury sites was 3.65 seconds and 3.52 seconds for mobile luxury sites.

Fast, convenient online interactions not only help drive more conversions in luxury goods sales but they can also positively influence the decision to shop in-store. According to a Google study of luxury shoppers in nine countries, while only 7 to 19 percent of purchases are made online, more than 90 percent of luxury shoppers use the web to research products before purchasing. Furthermore, a recent study commissioned by Catchpoint found that nearly a half (47 percent) of UK online shoppers would be less likely to visit a retailer’s brick-and-mortar store if they have a negative experience on the retailer’s website or app.

The root cause of performance issues lies – ironically – in how luxury brands are trying to compete with more luxurious, richer personalised digital experiences for high value customers. Brands need to seduce potential buyers, provide them with the right emotions, the sense of belonging to that select group of people. They don’t always have the manpower to produce more so they want to increase their margins rather than the volume.

So, investing heavily in digital technologies to gain a deeper understanding and…