The Q3 2023 benchmarking report for UK homeware retailers has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK homeware retailers perform across the digital space.
The latest Q3 2023 benchmarking report for homeware retailers in the UK has just been published. It covers the 10 largest homeware retail brands trading in the UK, including Ikea, Wilko, Dunelm, B&M Retail, The Range, Wayfair, Robert Dyas, Argos, The Very Group, and Habitat.
We began work on our report before the announcement that Wilko had entered administration. As our report will detail Wilko's performance in the previous three months (meaning no traffic figures will be warped by an uplift in interest in the struggling chain), we are able to show Wilko's digital situation directly before the announcement was made. For this reason, we've kept Wilko in our report as a benchmarking opportunity for other brands.
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 homeware brands to win brand exposure, drive online views, and generate in-store footfall (where relevant). 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 Q3 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 and 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. Homeware retail brands, which will be juggling large volumes of ever-changing stock, are likely to fall into the common trap for retail brands in not updating links to old products, leading to 4xx error codes. This can be avoided by ensuring an effective redirect strategy is in place when pages are removed.
Homeware retailers generally perform well when it comes to technical site compliance, with eight out of ten retailers recording fewer than 100 4xx errors. The most 4xx errors have come from The Range, which flagged 1,566 instances in our audit. The Range must ensure that the removal of products is not impacting users' ability to navigate the site and find the items they need.
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 will see a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. Homeware brands will feel the pressure to include high-quality images of their products on their home pages, along with representing their full product range, but care must be taken that any images or videos are not an excessively large size or resolution.
Mobile page speed scores range from 41 down to 6 for homeware retail brands. Robert Dyas, which sits at the lowest end of the scale, must evaluate whether its poor mobile page speed score is down to favouring form over function, and assess how the site can be made quicker for mobile audiences.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority (DA) 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. Homeware brands will have the opportunity to outreach to and collaborate with influencers and publications across a wide spectrum of niches, from cooking, to gardening, to lifestyle, to parenting (and more!).
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. DAs for homeware retail brands range from Ikea's 91 to 68 for Robert Dyas. These scores all sit within the 'excellent' band, showing a strong performance all-round for homeware retail brands.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for core, 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. As the cost of living crisis is impacting consumers, we've noticed a decreasing interest in treats or expendable items, which many of our homeware retail brands' product lines will fall into. Consumers may be opting to replace items less frequently, hold off on non-essential products, or seek cheaper prices elsewhere.
All ten of our homeware retail brands have seen a fall in organic traffic year on year. The biggest decrease was seen by Very, which witnessed a 49% drop in digital footfall. Dunelm is the brand closest to maintaining its traffic year on year, seeing only a 7% fall in traffic.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results are 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. 'Images' and 'local pack' results are a great option for homeware brands, who can show their current product lines, and nearest locations, direct from the SERP.
'Reviews' are the most-used Universal Search feature, accounting for the majority of all ten homeware retail brand's Universal Search appearances. Argos has secured the highest volume of these 'reviews' results, with a total of 303,800 - as a brand which is a natural destination for customers looking to buy high-value electric items, reviews are a particularly important way for Argos to win both organic visibility and improve its onsite conversion rate.
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 new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Homeware brands will want to look to descriptive terms about products that show high purchase intent, such as 'cream woollen throw', '16-piece dinner set', or 'king-sized green floral duvet'.
Each homeware retail brand is ranking for several thousand longtail keywords. However, Robert Dyas and Habitat are ranking for the fewest longtail keywords in the top three positions. While both brands have a strong longtail keyword portfolio, as far as other sectors we specialise in would go, to remain competitive with other homeware brands they will need to reassess content on key pages to improve on their rankings.
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 brands 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 in 2019. Facebook ads are an opportunity to show key styles and ranges within lifestyle settings, engaging potential customers through social media with beautiful images of products.
We've included examples of Ikea's recent Facebook ads below. Ikea has used Facebook ads to support a seasonal campaign for back-to-uni (or off-to-uni!) shopping, presenting offers to entice student shoppers and their parents. Ikea has presented an option for two static images, along with the same two images within a carousel format. With this tactic, Ikea can identify whether there is a stronger message between the two options OR if the two creatives are stronger when used together.
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 a long period of time. It's great for your engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content that achieves traffic over a long period. Visual platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are a great opportunity for brands to show their products within a lifestyle setting, and inspire social media users to make their own purchases.
Half of our homeware brands saw Pinterest as their number one channel generating social referrals - great news for them, as they'll be able to use Pinterest's easy shopping and product identification features to capitalise on their presence here. Looking at Meta's platforms, Ikea (unsurprisingly) has the largest Facebook audience with 32.6m likes. However, when it comes to Instagram, B&M has secured the largest audience - this could come down to a strong strategy in which the brand post often and follow social media and influencer trends, enabling their content to entertain, as well as inform.
Website Readability & Accessibility
About 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. Not only will juggling a large volume of products make maintaining technical compliance challenging, but can sometimes cause problems with accessibility, due to the instinct to link to a variety of products from one page.
Accessibility on homeware retail sites is generally good, with our audits flagging very few errors or alerts for most brands. However, B&M has cause for concern, with 1,728 alerts present on the site. Looking in further detail, many of these alerts come from redundant alternative text, which will impact the experience of any shoppers use screen readers.
Q3 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just six of the metrics we evaluated these top 10 homeware retailers on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 79-PAGE Q3 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.