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Gartner's L2 names Rare Carat as digital disruptor in 2018 Jewelry Report

Tiffany, Cartier, Swarovski Among the Smartest Online

By Michelle Graff

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A screenshot from a video on Cartier’s YouTube channel advertising the Panthère collection that received nearly 4 million views. Cartier ranked second only to Tiffany & Co. in L2’s latest Digital IQ Index for watches and jewelry.

MARCH 9, 2018

New York--L2 has released its annual report ranking the digital competency of some of the world’s biggest watch and jewelry brands, and two familiar names are at the top.

L2 is a New York-based consulting firm that specializes in benchmarking the digital performance of consumer brands across various markets and then providing marketers with research insights to help them grow their businesses.

Part of this research is the firm’s “Digital IQ” indices, which evaluates and ranks brands in various industries, like hotels, activewear, restaurants, and watches and jewelry.

The 2018 Digital IQ Index for watches and jewelry examined 70 brands and scored them based on the following four factors: website and e-commerce, which includes site load speed, product pages, the e-commerce experience, and online customer support; digital marketing, such as search visibility, email open rates and earned (not paid for) media mentions; mobile, meaning load speed on devices, mobile search capabilities and m-commerce; and social media.

After being scored, the brands are put into one of five intelligence-related categories: Genius (140 + points), Gifted (110-139), Average (109-90), Challenged (89-70) and Feeble (<70).

The only jewelry or watch brands labeled Genius by L2 were Tiffany & Co. (144) and Cartier (140).

L2 cited Tiffany’s best-in-class product pages, which give it strong organic Google search visibility, its mentions in publications like Vogue and Elle and expertise on social media as being among the factors that make it Genius.

Cartier, meanwhile, received points for its easy online appointment booking, 360-degree views of product, and strong YouTube and Instagram presence. 
Close behind Cartier was Austrian crystal brand Swarovski (139), followed by Alex & Ani (138) and David Yurman (136).

Rounding out the top 10 were Pandora, two LVMH-owned brands, Bulgari and TAG Heuer, Swatch Group-owned Longines, and Montblanc, which is a Richemont brand. All had scores that fell into the Gifted range.

The report noted that more watch and jewelry brands are embracing either direct-to-consumer e-commerce or partnering with sites like Net-a-Porter, which Richemont has bid to take full control of, and Hodinkee, in an effort to push down resale and gray market listings online. 

But, L2 said, jewelry brands still face challenges as “digital upstarts” and “disruptors”—the report names specifically Brilliant Earth, Rare Carat and now-Signet-owned James Allen—edge out brands evaluated on the index when consumers are using Google to search for diamonds. In addition, they are beginning to lose search visibility ground to resale sites like TrueFacet and Tradesy, L2 said.

Watch brands, too, face search competition issues from resale and gray market sites.

The L2 report said Tiffany “over-indexes” on social media platforms, particularly Instagram, where it posts Stories and is quick to try new features, like polls.

Other areas of improvement for both jewelry and watch brands cited by L2 included email marketing.

Only 67 percent of the 70 brands evaluated on the index sent any marketing emails in 2017, despite 81 percent of them offering email sign-up on their website.

Jewelry and watch companies are “missing a crucial opportunity to engage with customers directly to improve retention,” L2 said.

While Tiffany and Cartier ranked as Genius and 17 other brands were labeled as Gifted, there were 22 watch and jewelry brands that rated as Average, 14 as Challenged and 15 as Feeble.

The bottom five brands, all labeled Feeble, were Swatch Group-owned Jaquet Droz (56), Richemont’s A. Lange & Söhne (54), Wellendorf (47), Kering watch brand JeanRichard (38) and Richemont’s Giampiero Bodino (23).

A few other brands that ranked as Feeble included Fabergé (68), which is owned by Gemfields; Movado Group watch brand Ebel (67); Buccellati (63), which was purchased by a Chinese company last year; and Graff (58).

Rare Carat
Rare Carat
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