In the world of luxury clothing brands, there are two that stand out: Burberry and Hermes.
Both brands are longstanding international status symbols at the forefront of the fashion industry – each featuring distinct and exceptional product lines.
But where they differ greatly is in their digital commerce offerings.
Burberry is a luxury brand that really gets it right. The brand’s digital experience is perfectly aligned with its image and persona – creating a sleek, chic, modern and cool feel.
The couture brand uses bold visuals throughout its site, with a dynamic homepage that integrates interactive elements and visually stunning photography that instantly captures the attention of any consumer.
Create compelling visual design
It’s important to build an ecommerce site that offers compelling visual design to help differentiate your brand from the competition.
Burberry does an excellent job at this by creating innovative product pages that are dramatically different from those of its competitors.
The details that go into the design elevate the shopping experience and add to the perceived brand value.
Product images are all perfectly shot on a consistent backdrop with every element of the product and the model in clear, crisp focus.
This makes it possible to see even minute details without zooming in. Consistent and high-quality visuals such as these display your products in the best possible light.
One unique visual feature that Burberry’s site utilizes is the use of large image tiles, which makes for a visually appealing browsing experience.
Additionally, supplementary product details are sectioned off so consumers can quickly find the exact information they desire.
And while many ecommerce sites provide product recommendations directly below the featured product, this practice can distract shoppers from following through on the purchase.
By reducing the footprint of the product recommendation display and aligning it off-center, Burberry presents shoppers with additional options without detracting from the main product.
Infuse branded content with commerce
An ecommerce site is much more than a destination to purchase products. It provides a platform for brands to engage with visitors and deliver content that tells an interactive story about the brand.
Burberry’s website achieves this by seamlessly merging content and commerce to create a fluid and consistent brand image throughout the site.
These experiences give users an emotional connection to the brand – similar to that of visiting a physical retail store.
The Acoustic section, for example, features up-and-coming musicians performing in natural environments while dressed in Burberry clothing, yet there is no sign of a hard sell.
It feels more like an exclusive look into these individuals’ lives which helps create emotional connections to visitors through music.
The Our History section provides a visual recap of how the iconic Trench Coat has evolved through the years, featuring world-famous models and prominent advertisements through different points in time.
Each of these iconic images imbues a deep connection into the history of the brand and the people who helped shape it.
Simplify the site’s structure
Brands often feature an extensive product line-up so effectively categorizing each product can be challenging, making it difficult for consumers to find exactly what they are looking for.
Therefore, it’s crucial to simplify the site’s structure to make it easy for visitors to navigate your products.
Burberry did an excellent job of this by designing a site that makes exploring both intuitive and simple. The dynamic directory on the left-hand side of the page makes it simple to navigate and search products by category and/or collection.
Each and every part of the website can be accessed through this directory and major categories can be expanded into subcategories.
Hermes, while also a world-class luxury brand with exceptionally crafted merchandise, offers a digital commerce experience that’s severely lacking.
When visitors first arrive at the homepage, they’re immediately presented with three options: the brand site, the ecommerce store and store listings.
There is a major divide between content and commerce, forcing shoppers to pick one path instead of allowing them to experience the brand in its entirety, and this is just the beginning of the shopper’s journey.
Balance creativity with functionality
Some brands go so far into differentiating their sites from the competition that they end up confusing their visitors.
The Hermes online shop is a prime example of this since the brand presents an unconventional design that makes visitors question whether it functions as an ecommerce site.
The homepage looks more like a boutique art gallery than a luxury brand store, with its hand-drawn images that lack descriptions.
There is no information to be found about the Hermes brand or any of its product, both of which can add context and content to the brand.
Without these elements, the brand loses out on the opportunity to deliver an engaging brand experience.
Offer Robust Product Pages
On many of Hermes’ product pages, product descriptions consist of a few sparse words such as “Printed beach towel” or “Hermes silk tie”.
However, the lack of content and information doesn’t stop there.
Many product pages offer just one or two images and products are presented on sketches rather than on models; this makes for a great artistic statement but it doesn’t translate well for commerce.
The Hermes site seems to have been created by artists, for artists.
While this approach may resonate with some of the brand’s loyal fans, brands can’t afford to take ecommerce design to such an extreme creative direction in today’s increasingly competitive digital commerce landscape.
If a brand’s ecommerce offering doesn’t drive sales or provide content that elevates the brand image, then it fails to deliver on consumer expectations and risks losing market share to its competitors.
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