For the 2020 Web Globalization Report Card, we benchmarked the following 8 luxury websites:
- Louis Vuitton
- Mont Blanc
Tiffany continues to dominate this category, though we must stress that even Tiffany lags behind most global websites. Out of the 150 websites benchmarked, Tiffany ranks #94 overall.
Now more than ever, as so much of the world is now shopping online, a simple fact holds true: As luxury brands embrace ecommerce, they must also embrace fundamental global usability practices, such as user-friendly global gateways, support for country codes, fast- loading mobile websites, and depth of localized content.
Luxury websites also lag in linguistic reach, with an average of only 12 languages, far below the overall average of 33.
Linguistic reach underscores an existential issue that luxury brands are often wrestling with: How to be simultaneously both exclusive and accessible.
Luxury brands treat language as another luxury item, instead of the necessity it truly is.
The majority of websites rely on geolocation to improve global navigation, yet a number of sites use it incorrectly. For example, Mont Blanc uses geolocation to auto-direct users to the local websites, when available. But when you do auto-direct visitors, you must be sure they can easily find a global gateway so they can redirect themselves if needed — and Mont Blanc does not offer this. The gateway, shown here on the mobile site, is buried near the bottom of the menu page. The globe icon, however, is a well documented best practice.
With support for 19 languages (most recently adding Dutch and Polish), Rolex leads all luxury brands in languages. While this is considerably fewer languages than brands such as Apple or Lexus, it is a sign that luxury brands are increasingly investing in global (and linguistic) reach.
Now, Rolex needs to improve the way it presents these languages to users. Its global gateway strategy still leaves much to be desires.
At just nine languages, Hermès is tied with Gucci at the bottom of this group. However, it does support a nicely consistent design around the world; below are the home pages for France and .com:
Unfortunately, the template itself is, at more than 12MB, too heavy for users in many markets. We recommend setting a more austere weight limit.
We devote a dozen pages to luxury website profiles in the 2020 Web Globalization Report Card. If you have any questions about the report, please feel free to contact me.
Also included is the new report: 2020 Web Globalization Best Practices & Emerging Trends.