Chinese online luxury goods consumers seek top experience
Chinese online luxury goods consumers are turning out to be very attentive and demanding. Though they find luxury label websites on the whole satisfactory, they still lament a lack of clarity and information content.
These are the conclusions of a survey carried out for the the first time on China's luxury goods sector by the E-performance Observatory of Yuseo, a subsidiary of French digital marketing agency Nextedia and a specialist in customer experience and in the tracking and optimisation of digital journeys.
The survey was conducted with a group of 600 Chinese consumers and websites of 12 labels: Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Dior, Prada, Coach, Saint Laurent, Armani, Burberry, Fendi, Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta.
Luxury goods sales in China have markedly declined, owing to the local economy's slow-down, the stock market slump and anti-corruption campaigns. Online sales are growing, however, and labels are keenly interested in providing the market with an optimal purchasing experience.
Chinese consumers reckon that a website must above all offer "easy navigation, allowing effortless access to the various types of product." Altogether, the 12 websites screened in the survey all comply with this essential requisite.
The survey respondents performed an online test, shopping for one specific product on every site. Assessed ex-post, the satisfaction index for the industry in general was 8.4/10, with Burberry and Coach at the top of the ranking. The websites' Chinese translations, their design, their image quality and the way they are structured were universally appreciated.
On the whole, the websites offer a simple navigation system with "an adequate product range", the second most important element according to Chinese customers.
Nevertheless, the survey noted that, in terms of specific search criteria, "navigation between the various sections did not appear to be clear for the websites as a whole." This prevented the websites from fully satisfying the third most important element for Chinese customers, i.e. "the ease of accessing the necessary information."
The 2.3 point difference between the various labels analysed shows how certain websites displayed "some difficulty in offering a smooth and intuitive navigation along the entire customer journey." According to the survey, 16% of the online customers interviewed stated they experienced difficulties in navigating through the different product sections, and 22% in identifying the product they were searching for.
These difficulties were notably highlighted for the Chanel and Balenciaga sites. "Altogether, Chinese online customers were satisfied, but they complained about not finding enough product information on some of the sites, especially with regards to materials, colours, sizes, service terms and conditions, etc.," explained the survey's author Wang Diandian.
"Another criticism related to range segmentation, which is not extensive enough. The categories available to internet customers are actually few in numbers. Items are differentiated only by gender or by season, and the list of the products on offer is not sufficiently clear," she concluded.
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