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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Swarovski, Tiffany Among Top 10 in ‘Digital IQ’ in a Weak Jewelry Field

Tiffany's Engagement Ring Finder iPhone app
Two jewelry companies stand out in a ranking of the digital competence of 72 international luxury brands.

Swarovski and Tiffany ranked eighth and tenth, respectively, in the survey, “Digital IQ Index,” by L2, a membership organization of academics and industry professionals that bills itself as a think tank for digital innovation. While there were standouts in the rankings, much of the jewelry and watch industry received poor scores in the survey.

The survey measured luxury brands in the categories of “Watches & Jewelry,” “Fashion,” “Men’s Fashion,” and Shoes & Leathergoods.” The rankings are the result of measuring each company’s Internet site’s brand effectiveness, digital marketing efforts, social media presence and mobile marketing initiatives. They were ranked with a Digital IQ score and categorized in the following classes: “Genius,” “Gifted,” “Average,” “Challenged,” and “Feeble.” None of the 29 jewelry and watch brands made Genius class. The Watches & Jewelry category had the lowest score and biggest drop in the annual survey. The Fashion category had the highest overall score and the biggest overall gain.

“Amidst gray market concerns, counterfeit fears, and a general hope that ‘the whole Internet thing will go away,’ the Watch & Jewelry category appears paralyzed, posting an average IQ of just 79,” the survey notes. “Limited investment in digital and a lack of leadership have relegated them to ‘Average’ and ‘Challenged’ status in the Index.”

Swarovski (tied for eighth with Giorigo Armani) was tops in the Watches & Jewelry category with a score of 139 and receiving Gifted status. “The creation of a mobile site or application would elevate it to its Genius status,” the survey notes. Tiffany, with a score of 138 and also given the “Gifted” status, was cited for its innovative Engagement Ring Finder iPhone app, which allows users to browse the jeweler’s collection of rings according to shape, setting, metal or design.

Fabergé ranked 56 in the survey and received Average status. However, the company’s e-commerce Web site, which launched in September 2009 (part of the brand’s re-launch under its new owners, Pallinghurst Resources) received a special mention as the possible future of ultra-luxury e-retailing.

“The site’s password-protected inner sanctum preserves the boutique experience while remaining commerce-driven. Product presentation in flash is innovative; gem-encrusted baubles float in the ether of the home page, waiting to be dragged front and center,” the survey notes.

“The most unique feature of the site, however, is its customer service,” it continues. “Clients are immediately paired with a sales advisor who welcomes them and provides access to the site. Advisors are available in 11 languages, 24/7, for calls, instant messages, or video chats. Should a client want to try a piece, a viewing will be scheduled. If a purchase is made, the item will be hand-delivered. This attention to detail ensures that any Fabergé shopping experience, online or in-store, is managed to the brand’s standards. And with price points starting at $50,000, the bar is high.”

Other jewelry and watch brands that earned Gifted status with their ranking and Digital IQ score are as follows:

24. Tag Heuer (Digital IQ score 116)
25. Longines (114)
26. Hublot (113)

Jewelry and watch brands considered Average in the survey are:

34. Montblanc (104)
35. Bulgari (102)
37. Omega (101)
42. David Yurman (90)

Among those considered Challenged are:
44 (tie). Cartier and Raymond Weil (89)
48. Rolex (87)
49. Movado (85)
54. Harry Winston (76)
55. IWC (75)
56. Fabergé (74)

Jewelry and watch brands receiving Feeble status are:

63. DeBeers (63)
64 (tie). Chopard and Vacheron Constantin (61)
66. Baccarat (56)
69. Franck Muller (39)
70. Graff (35)
71. Bulova (32)
72. Buccellati (21)

The top seven luxury brands receiving Genius status are as follows:

1. Coach (171)
2 (tie). Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton (167)
4. Gucci (166)
5. Hugo Boss (157)
6. Burberry (153)

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