The luxury market oozes opulence, elegance, and exclusivity. Whether it be fashion, hospitality, or experiences, no expense is spared when creating marketing campaigns to attract the most affluent consumers. The challenge facing high-end brands today is invoking the same impact with their luxury website design.
How do you tell the story of your brand, provide exquisite personal touches and foster trust in your identity, without the traditional scope of a bricks-and-mortar store? The luxury retail industry is dictated by affluent consumers with impeccable taste. It is imperative for luxury brands to deliver bespoke websites, befitting their reputation and that of their clients.
Uncovering the Best Luxury Website Designs
In this series, we delve into the world of luxury website design. We take a detailed look at the high-end websites produced by internationally renowned luxury brands. The team at KIJO have years of experience in the London digital design industry. Join us as we provide you with valuable insights into the online luxury design trends essential for connecting with discerning consumers. We have systematically ranked leading luxury websites, providing clear results on every aspect. Read on for tips on user experience, mobile optimisation, and those all-important special features.
High Fashion Brands and their Luxury Website Designs
The leading names in luxury retail know how to create exquisitely designed websites that convert. In the first of our Luxury Website Design series, we will be looking at the biggest fashion brands. We explore what they offer and the cutting-edge technology they have adopted. Our findings are invaluable for premium brands looking to better understand their competitors and conceptualise their own websites. We’re here to empower you with the data and details of what’s working in the online luxury sphere.
Gucci’s AR Application Brings Couture to Mobile
Guccio Gucci established the iconic fashion line back in 1921. At almost a century old, Gucci is one of the oldest Italian fashion houses still in operation today. Its initial focus was crafting luxury leather and equestrian items for upper-class Italians.
Since 2015, Gucci has been under the creative direction of Alessandro Michele. He has combined classic Gucci opulence with whimsical, eclectic prints. A huge hit with young fashionistas, launching Gucci to the front of the high-end fashion pack.
But how does their online platform stack up? Does their website invoke quality and exquisite design paired with a youthful exuberance that the brand has come to embody?
Gucci’s Standout App: Special Features Rating 4.5/5
Gucci’s stand-out feature is the ‘Try On’ area of their App, which brings augmented reality and 3D imaging to fashion. Users are able to virtually try on footwear, eyewear, and lipstick. It is somewhat similar to Snapchat -filters but a lot classier in its execution. It’s a fun, interactive element that also serves its primary purpose to convert app users into paying customers.
Aligning with the website, the app is still dominated with the whimsical images and rich earthy colours from the latest campaign photography. However, there is definitely a more youthful vibe. The focus is on interactivity, tongue in cheek games, and experimental technology.
Video is used extensively in the Runway section, where you can view the latest catwalk and easily explore the looks. They also have the Gucci Arcade. As the name would suggest, it is reminiscent of an old school 90s arcade with three retro games on offer so far. Not what you would expect from one of Italy’s oldest fashion houses. It’s refreshing to see them shooting in a youthful, new direction.
The Gucci Podcast is also available for free. Here they explore topics that resonate with the modern, conscientious consumer. So far, they have covered everything from plastic pollution to emerging technologies.
The only limitation with the app is the lack of integration with the website. While you are taken straight to the website should you wish to purchase anything, the app does not appear anywhere on the website. This seems to be missing a trick as the app most definitely aids the shopping experience. This could be a marketing strategy to discern between more traditional desktop shoppers and a younger app audience. But in our opinion, either provide purchasing capabilities on the app or more fully integrate the two for a stronger shopping experience.
Nonetheless, the app is a standout offering from Gucci and elevates their entire online offering. It is available for free on both iOS and Android devices.
Seamless Navigation: User Experience Rating 4/5
Visitors are first greeted with a powerful visual impact. The immediate focus of the homepage centres on photographs of modern takes on Gucci’s iconic classics. The Jackie Bag and their classic men’s loafer are the first products you see. Users continue scrolling to be led through the recent contemporary collections and, finally, Gucci Stories. This funnelling is a smart move by Gucci. It allows them to first invoke their long-standing reputation by presenting familiar, classic designs, before leading users into their more recent brand direction.
The navigation bar is simple yet effective, breaking the site down into “What’s New”, “Clothing”, “Beauty”, and “Décor”. The website footer is full of useful links. It provides easy user access to exclusive services, customer care, and a host of social media links.
When shopping for something in particular, it’s easy to find what you’re looking. The navigation bar divides down into numerous sections. There are multiple, high-resolution images for every product and a list of detailed information covering everything from product care to material composition. Underneath are You May Like and Recently Viewed tabs, making retracing your steps incredibly easy.
Overall, the user experience is smooth and straightforward, if lacking a little ingenuity.
Bold Photography: Visual Design Rating 3.5/5
Gucci’s website evidently has a sound structure, but here we focus on their visual aesthetic. To be frank, the basic design elements and colour palette aren’t all that luxurious. The paired back black and white navigation bar and understated typography, whilst classic, are somewhat underwhelming.
However, this does force the powerful photography to the forefront. The images of their latest lines are the focus throughout the site and refocus the brand’s identity in Michele’s image. It’s a bold but fitting approach for a fashion house that constantly delivers new lines that reimagine classic trends.
Text is minimised at every opportunity. Even when clicking on their Stories, you are met with striking visuals and an unimposing ‘Read more’; only then do you get to the text.
The only concern with focussing almost exclusively on their latest photography is that there is little in the way of brand history. Nowhere on the site does the longstanding history of Gucci appear, or is their story told. This may be an intentional move to anchor the brand in the 21st century. However, it seems a shame not to portray the timelessness of the brand and the powerful reputation afforded by its longstanding success.
Smooth Scrolling: Mobile Optimisation Rating 4/5
Consumers of luxury brands expect nothing less than complete mobile optimisation – which Gucci delivers. Their site is as easy to scroll through on your phone as it is to click through on your computer. The absence of image rollovers found on the desktop site and the static nature of the mobile site actually make for a smoother user experience. Item tiles are interspersed with beautiful photos and image carousels work seamlessly. The ‘How To Style It’ sections combine to deliver a well-thought-out, enjoyable shopping experience.
Impeccable Personalised Service: Retail Integration Rating 5/5
Gucci’s eCommerce customer journey is impeccable. They have tactfully put unobtrusive, useful calls to action throughout the entire site and clearly provide information on their complimentary shipping and returns on the homepage. But it’s their Guccified Online Shopping Experience, which provides highly valuable online extras that bring in-store luxury to the online user.
If you want personalised styling advice, you can book a private appointment with an Online Client Advisor. Alternatively, if you are struggling to find a gift, their Ask a Gift Expert option also connects you with an actual person who can guide you through everything from personalisation options to after-sale support. The speed with which you can connect to a human being, not just a chatbot, is impressive.
Across the site as a whole, when there is a customer representative available you can opt for the Digital Showroom Experience, a new way to experience the world of Gucci online. It connects you to a one-way video call with a Client Advisor, where they can walk you around the store. Essentially an online personal shopper, this is the perfect option if you want luxury customer service but don’t want to go in-store. Crucially, while you can hear and see them, they can only hear you, meaning you can peruse the store from the comfort of your own bed – always a bonus.
Gucci: Personalised Luxury Website Design and an App that Sets Them Apart
Overall, whilst not ground-breaking in its design and format, Gucci’s luxury website design delivers a smooth user-experience across both desktop and mobile sites. They make full use of the incredible photography from their latest campaigns, keeping the site fresh and engaging for frequent visitors. Two areas where they truly excel are with their app and personalised online shopping experience. Striking the perfect balance between elite, luxury service and playful, cutting-edge technology is tricky. Delivering across both, they have artfully segmented their audience. They can implement smart, targeted online brand marketing strategies, covering all of their customer bases.