The Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK school uniform providers has just been published. Learn how the top 11 UK department stores perform across the digital space.
The latest Q1 2024 benchmarking report for UK school uniform providers has just been published. It covers the 11 largest school uniform providers in the UK, including Monkhouse, David Luke, Schoolblazer, Stevensons, Winterbottom’s Schoolwear, Trutex, Price & Buckland, School Uniform Direct, Zeco, School Uniform Shop, and SWI UK.
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 school uniform providers to win brand exposure, drive online views, and increase 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 Q1 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q1 2024 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just six of the metrics we evaluated these top 11 school uniform providers on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing UK school uniform providers or request a copy of the report for the full review.
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. School uniform providers operate all year around with a higher demand during new school terms, so they need to manage ever-changing stock and ensure their websites remain technically compliant without any 404 errors codes or broken links, which can drive away prospective customers.
All UK school uniform providers should aim for zero 4xx errors, though David Luke flags for 691 4xx errors. This brand should consider redirecting to alternative products when products are removed to avoid customers being led to a 404 error code.
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. Mobile e-commerce sales reached $2.2 trillion in 2023, demonstrating the potential for online sales through mobile. School uniform providers typically target busy parents looking for fast loading speeds, allowing providers to increase conversion rates and avoid customers reaching to competitors. Brands should aim for above 90, though 50–89 is considered ‘okay’.
Mobile site speed performance ranges from 61 to 7. Price & Buckland and SWI UK are at the bottom end, falling far behind the recommended 50 score. These brands should review images and videos that might slow down loading times.
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. Domain authority is based on several factors such as high-quality backlinks being a significant factor in increasing a brand’s score. School uniform providers should expand their PR strategy across their entire product range to build a relationship with high-authoritative brands.
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. In Q1 2024, the DA rating is between 52 and 4.4, with no brands in the ‘excellent’ zone. Winterbottom’s Schoolwear (4.4) is falling greatly behind what’s considered ‘average’ and should revise its backlink strategy.
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. . The cost of living crisis has affected brands across many sectors. While school uniform is considered a necessity, many consumers may opt for ways to reduce their outgoings by turning to money-saving alternatives, such as clothes donations, so we can expect to see a decrease in online traffic amongst these providers.
Six of the school uniform providers experienced a loss in mobile traffic YoY, with Monkhouse seeing the biggest loss at 30%. This provider can implement ways to make its website more mobile-friendly, as its desktop traffic didn’t see as great a loss.
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. We should expect to see ‘images’ scoring the most points for Universal Search results, as school uniform providers rely on product imagery to increase sales. Given that this is a customer-facing sectors, brands should also look to expand on their total ‘reviews’ to improve trust.
Monkhouse has the largest total of Universal search results (1,966), with SWI UK following closely behind (1,913). Both providers have 1,900 results for ‘images’. In this report, ‘reviews’ has a score of zero, which brands should adopt to increase their online traffic.
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. School uniform providers should focus on expanding their longtail keyword strategy across product specifications, including colour, sizing, pattern and texture, and even incorporate a high-quality blog to increase reach.
Stevensons has the most overall searches for longtail keywords, although four other providers beat it in the top three searches. In particular, Trutex has the highest results for the top three positions, implying that it’s adopting a successful keyword strategy.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 44 million users by 2023, 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.
We’ve included a sample of Trutex’s Facebook ad. This school provider incorporates a video, though it should consider a vertical position to adhere to mobile users.
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 which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Facebook ads allow school providers to expand their reach and brand awareness. There are certain factors they should keep in mind to cut costs for ads and improve conversions, such as speeding up landing pages and keeping text short to lower their cost per conversation.
Most providers favour Facebook and fall within a few thousand Facebook and Instagram followers. Engagement is more impactful than followers, as this indicates that consumers are loyal to a brand.
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. All providers should meet the accessibility standards, taking into consideration readability and contrast errors to make websites understandable. Websites should favour visual consistency and consider text size and colour and prioritise these factors over an aesthetically pleasing design.
All school providers flag for alerts, with Monkhouse reporting 58 in our audit. Under closer inspection, these alerts come from redundant links and redundant alternative text. School Uniform Shop has 75 contrast errors, which will affect its accessibility.
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q1 2024 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.