The Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK high-end home brands has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK high-end home brands perform across the digital space.
The latest Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK high-end home brands has just been published. It covers the largest 11 national high-end home brands, including Loaf, Habitat, Sofas & Stuff, BoConcept, Barker And Stonehouse, Sofa Club, Cox & Cox, Snug, West Elm, Heal’s, and Dwell.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other high end home brands to win brand exposure, drive online orders, and increase in-store footfall. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. For high-end home brands, they'll want to ensure that key ranges and complementary product lines are well-linked to and easily accessible for browsing customers.
In our last report, our crawls recorded 844 4xx errors on Barker and Stonehouse's site. Since then, Barker and Stonehouse have reduced this figure down to 43 - a significant improvement that will have enhanced their on-site experience. Snug Sofas are now recording the highest volume of 4xx errors, with a total of 226.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. Brands operating in the high-end sector will want to provide an excellent level of service at every touchpoint, including on their site. A fast, high-performing site will make high-end homeware shoppers more likely to convert and will also instil confidence in the brand.
Though BoConcept recorded the highest mobile page speed score in our last report, with 55, performance has now fallen to 30. This is a significant drop and BoConcept must review any changes that have been made to their site in the past four months, to narrow down what has caused this speed reduction.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. For high-end home brands, there are a wealth of opportunities to improve domain authority, from outreach campaigns targeted at industry publications, through to collaborations with authoritative bloggers within the niche.
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. For high-end home brands, these scores range from 74 down to 37. In Q4 we saw Sofa Club sitting at the bottom of this scale with a DA of 21, however, they have now improved to 37. This is a huge achievement within such a short space of time and puts them only 4-6 points behind their next three closest competitors.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. Unfortunately for brands in the high-end home sector, many of their customers are likely to be pulling back on treats such as luxury homeware items or furniture due to the cost of living crisis. This means that there is likely to be a reduction in traffic to any sites within the sector, and any benchmarking or goals set for organic traffic should take this into consideration.
In our last report, only Heals were maintaining or gaining traffic YoY. No high-end home brands saw an increase in mobile traffic in Q2, though Heals maintained the most visibility with just an 18% loss in mobile traffic. With interest in this sector being lower than 2022, brands must maintain a competitive edge against others within the space to maintain as much traffic as possible.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. 'Image' results are a strong option for high-end home brands, who can use the opportunity to show their products directly on the SERP. 'Reviews' and 'People Also Ask' results are also useful for building trust with potential customers.
'Reviews' remained the most used universal search result among our eleven high-end home brands, with Habitat remaining on top with 12,800 results. Snug are the only brand effectively taking advantage of 'People Also Ask' opportunities, appearing for 206 of these results. Appearing for 'People Also Ask' results is a good indication of a strong longtail keyword strategy, and allows brands to answer questions without users stepping virtual foot on their site.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for brand-new search terms as they enter Google’s index. For high-end home brands, conversion-focussed keywords could look like 'designer sofa delivered this week', or 'buy green velvet sofa online'.
Last quarter, we noted that Sofa Club were lagging behind in ranking for longtail keywords, appearing in positions 1-3 for only three search terms. In Q2, we noted that Sofa Club have increased this figure to 220 on mobile. As with their improvements in domain authority, this is a significant achievement and continuing with what appears to be a strong strategy will help them maximise the potential of a smaller pool of potential customers YoY.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019.
Below, we can see a range of ads from BoConcept. BoConcept have used Facebook ads to firmly tap into the Scandinavian homeware trend within high-end brands, and make a strong statement that they, as a Danish brand, fit perfectly into this niche. BoConcept have used strong calls to action alongside their visuals, promoting a 'live simple' lifestyle as opposed to focussing heavily on any one product.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. High-end home brands will find that Pinterest is an effective platform for them to direct efforts to, due to their heavy focus on visual inspiration, and generally more affluent user base than other platforms.
In our research, we can see that high-end home brands are using both Facebook and Pinterest to generate interest within their content and products. Cox and Cox secured the most engagements in Q2, with a total of 73,097 - their top platform being Pinterest. Using aspirational lifestyle images as product images encourages 'pinning' behaviours, as they inspire potential customers in how to style products (and point them to further items on the site to!).
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. Though style is highly important for any brands within the high-end home sector, they must also ensure that any branding or aesthetic choices don't create barriers to accessibility.
Though we have seen steady improvements across all our high-end home brands since we started running our benchmark reports, some sites are still showing errors in their accessibility. Most notably, Loaf have been flagged for 239 alerts in our most recent crawl. Loaf should be regularly reviewing accessibility needs and ensuring that any alerts are diligently identified and solved.
Q2 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics, we evaluated these top 11 high-end home brands on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q2 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.