The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK sofa specialists has just been published. Learn how the top 10 UK sofa specialists perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK sofa specialists has just been published. It covers the 11 largest sofa specialists in the UK, including DFS, ScS, The Sofa & Chair Company, Sofa Club, Sofas & Stuff, SofaSofa, Swyft, Sofology, sofa.com, Darlings of Chelsea, and Snug.
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 sofa specialists 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 Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just six of the metrics we evaluated these top 11 sofa specialists on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing UK sofa specialists 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. For sofa specialists, they'll want to ensure key informational pages, such as branch locations, payment options, and delivery estimates, are clearly signposted and not blocked off by 4xx errors.
In our last report, we noted that Swyft flagged for 8,396 4xx errors. This quarter, it had a reduction in 4xx errors, with a total of 3,964, though it has the highest errors of all sofa specialists. Darlings of Chelsea had zero 5xx errors in the last quarter but saw 82 in this quarter, suggesting that it needs to update its server to keep up with consumer demand.
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. Sofa specialists may be tempted to include large, high-quality images on their sites to show products at their best. However, when also needing to juggle large quantities of products, sofa specialists must ensure they are striking a happy medium between form and function.
Mobile speed scores ranged from 2 to 49 this quarter, compared to our last report, which saw a more successful quarter of 3 to 57. Both Sofology and sofa.com have the lowest mobile speed. We recommend both sofa specialists reduce third-party content, such as pop-ups, widgets, and notifications, to increase their scores.
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. By working with a digital PR specialist, sofa specialists will be able to reclaim existing link opportunities, along with strategising on engaging, eye-catching PR campaigns that will gain backlinks and, even more crucially, referral traffic and brand awareness.
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. This quarter, the DA rating ranged from 38 to 63, showing a small rise compared to the last quarter (34 to 62). Only Sofa Sofa (38) ranks below what’s considered an average DA. Sofa Club has a DA of 41 and they’re also the brand with the lowest number of backlinks, so they should expand their PR strategy and exposure to increase their DA for the next quarter.
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. During lockdown and Covid, we saw consumers invest in their home environments, making them more comfortable and stylish. However, following this boom, we are witnessing near-universal falls in traffic across the homeware sector.
Sofa Club are at the top of the leaderboard for YoY traffic increase with mobile up by 63% and desktop up by 83%. Only three other brands saw traffic increases. However, The Sofa & Chair Company suffered a mobile loss of 48%.
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. 'Reviews' and 'images' are both great options for sofa specialists, who can demonstrate customer satisfaction and product styles directly from the SERP.
DFS secured the most universal searches, with a total of 41,793. As expected, its top appearance is for images (37,600). Similar to the last quarter, ScS is the only sofa specialist capitalising on ‘reviews’ and saw an increase in this category from the last quarter, with 5,800 appearances.
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. Sofa specialists will want to ensure they're including phrases which show a high purchase intent in their strategy, such as terms including 'quick delivery', 'no interest finance', or 'matching three piece suite'.
Happily all brands have increased their longtail keyword appearances in the last quarter. Sofa Club have gone from 5515 to 6106 however DFS are strides ahead with 94,455 appearances. Brands need to work on their keyword strategy to increase search rankings and catch up with DFS who rank the highest for longtail keywords in all categories.
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. For UK sofa specialists, Facebook ads are an opportunity to ensure customers see product launches, sales, and promotions.
Across two of Snug’s Facebook ads, it has a strong sense of branding for its images with tailor-designed promotional material. This sofa specialist uses seasonal content with the same text across all three ads, suggesting it’s testing engagement with imagery.
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. Pinterest is a useful platform for any brand within the homeware space, such as sofa specialists, as it boasts a comparatively more affluent audience than other platforms, who are immersed in the decision-making stage of purchasing.
Three of the 11 brands favour Pinterest, which is to be expected for customer-facing brands that focus on imagery and inbound links to generate interest. Snug has the highest total engagement on social media (5,991) — an increase of 1,606 in the last quarter.
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. Sofa specialists should ensure they are not excluding visually impaired customers on the basis of having a non-accessible site and must ensure that all potential sofa customers are able to browse products with ease.
Snug continues to spark concern with a total of 1,020 alerts this quarter. SCS has an increasing number of contrast errors (from 69 last quarter to 92 this quarter). This brand needs to clean up many redundant text boxes and links across its website to improve this score for the next quarter.
GET THE FULL 70-PAGE Q4 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.