Gucci was among the first to launch an eCommerce site when it unveiled one in 2002. But just because it’s been one of the first to the game doesn’t mean it’s what’s made it successful. Since dipping its toe into the online world, Gucci has redefined what it means for luxury brands to take hold of their marque and succeed in the rapidly changing world of commerce.
Here’s G & Co.’s eCommerce Case Study on Gucci’s digital strategy. G & Co. is a full-service UI/UX design and development eCommerce agency. As a full-service digital design firm, they do everything from UI/UX for mobile apps and brand identities to marketing websites and enterprise software, having a specialized focus on direct-to-consumer (DTC) and luxury brands.
Gucci’s parent company, Kering, has adopted an eCommerce approach as a strategic priority for years now, and it has proven to pay off. In recent months, the company quickly bounced back from pandemic-generated lockdowns by having already invested in an online infrastructure; eCommerce sales for Kering jumped 72% in 2020 Q2. In 2015, Gucci’s website hit 100 million visitors, and while its online revenue may have accounted for just 7% of Kering’s total revenue that year, it has since ballooned to 22% to account for $19.3B.
With that kind of success, it’s no surprise that Kering has only made more investments into digital functionalities, among them including a single cross-channel customer database and reserve online/pick-up in-store feature.
For Gucci specifically, it has always been that its brand matters first and foremost, regardless of what channel it utilizes. This philosophy of “brand first, channel second” makes it possible to fully engage shoppers as they would with an in-store presence without overstretching itself. You see this through its inclusion of the “What’s New” catalog in which people can see its most recent collections featured from their runways, which allows people to immerse themselves in that world where they feel they are part of the Gucci experience. You could say that Gucci’s decision to opt for a web redesign and relaunch after 13 years shows a few things:
- They realize it’s not enough just to have a piece of yourself online and you’re done
- The very way in which people interact with brands online prompts brands to adapt and meet new consumer expectations with a well-catering experience
Gucci seems to agree. Their online store’s demonstration of their product complements their quality, but an online store can’t be expected to do the selling for you. But through its incredible ease of use, Gucci’s new web design seems to be doing just that. Coupled with its find in-store option feature, excellent product information, gift wrapping, customer service via phone and e-mail, as well as the increasingly generous shipping and return policy recently implemented, Gucci’s eCommerce strategy is doing a phenomenal job. No one could ask for a more frictionless user experience, and for a high-end brand, Gucci meets the mark.
For the reasons above, it’s shown that luxury brands don’t have to emphasize their opulent qualities to an extreme as part of their online strategy. In fact, if it means they’re doing that instead of focusing on the site’s functionalities, it’s not doing its shoppers any favors for their user experience when they hop on their page. With Gucci, their appropriate mix of content, brand visual representation, and shopping experience make it a leader in the luxury eCommerce space.
In more recent years, Kering has tightened its grip on its eCommerce operations, choosing to focus on its own branded sites to sell its products and ventures to have more control over its brand image and client data. By doing so, Kering and Gucci enjoy more direction of their customer journey than it would if it used a third-party seller. And it seems that decision to take the direct-to-consumer (DTC) route is something other brands in the luxury space are pursuing, as well (note Burberry and Nomasei).
Because it has poured a considerable amount of focus into its online presence, Gucci can move fluidly and adjust any consumer touchpoint if needed. Since Gucci’s gone full force into its online strategy, it has rallied loyal customers and pushed more traffic into physical stores. Despite the early concern among luxury brands over going digital, given the belief that accessibility on the internet would conflict with the aura of exclusivity, Gucci has clearly shown that a luxury brand can still uphold its image and have a remarkable online strategy.
All the reasons for Gucci’s online successes are multiplied when you consider its exceptional visibility on search engines. Consider this: for all the time luxury brands spent arriving later in the game and figuring out their footing, Gucci has grown its site visits year over year, all the while improving their engagement metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on site, and page visits.
Then there is also good enough indication to suggest Gucci’s marketing approach has only put them further on top: their digital presence has certainly benefited from celebrity collaborations with Béyonce, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles (at this point, Harry is an unofficial, official Gucci ambassador).
Nailing the customer demographic also does wonders: when Gucci figured out their core customer demography is between the ages of 25 and 35, it could make far better use of its marketing dollars for an increasingly more targeted approach and a greater return. That’s exactly why, in addition to their commitment to an unparalleled web design user experience, Gucci counts on social media as an integral tool to their online fashion powerhouse.
With a keen understanding of the digital landscape and the millennial generation, Gucci’s been able to earn high engagement marks through an authentic and consistent narrative across every platform they utilize to express its brand image.
What Gucci is doing now is reaping the bountiful rewards of what Kering has sowed. None of what they’ve accomplished was done overnight, and it would be unwise to think that a high-end brand can do so. But through time and careful measures, Gucci has become the dominant force in luxury eCommerce.
Temporary hits caused by the pandemic have caused a toll on revenue. But on the brighter side of things, the pandemic’s ability to force everyone into considering eCommerce is why the conversation over digital experiences has become necessary. And it’s one of the biggest reasons why Kering is bullish on digital and says it will remain attentive not to cut initiatives that will bring growth, as they should.
Long-term, Kering cares about improving its eCommerce and delivery capabilities. There’s plenty of foundation Kering and Gucci have built thus far for their online user experience. Their doubling down on their strategy can only bring more fruit to bear.
What platform does Gucci use?
Gucci uses Powerfront and SAP Commerce Cloud for their eCommerce platform.
What content management system (CMS) does Gucci use?
Gucci uses Powerfront as its content management system (CMS).
What libraries and functions is Gucci utilizing?
Gucci utilizes AJAX Libraries, CloudFront, and Akami for its website.
Why is UI/UX important for eCommerce stores?
A good user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is essential for any eCommerce store in that it helps browsers easily navigate a website for the sole purpose of making their customer journey easier to finish. Most importantly, an eCommerce store is a window into a brand’s image; the first impression a browser makes when coming across a shop can easily determine whether or not they will continue browsing and ultimately purchase something.
Why is eCommerce important for any luxury business?
In the rapidly changing world we live in, it’s important now more than ever for brands to adapt to evolving consumer needs. And that includes meeting them where they are.
How is eCommerce different for luxury and nonluxury brands?
It’s not enough for luxury brands to have a branded site just to check the box off on eCommerce. Consumers today want an experience that matches the quality of a luxury product they purchase.