Site Conversion Case Study: Luxury Versus Value
As a full service digital agency we work closely with a range of businesses from vastly different industries, and while we have a large portfolio of clients that position themselves at the luxury, high quality, high price end of the market, we also have a number of very large and profitable clients who offer low cost, value products and services. To us, though, it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight, it’s about the fight itself – in other words, we’re passionate about getting our clients the results they want from their websites whether they’re “money no object” or “bargain basement.”
It’s fairly well accepted that, when creating graphics for luxury brands, top quality visuals are required to communicate the aspirational messaging that’s embedded into high-end products or services. However, when working with brands that target the lower end of the market, I’m often asked if such good quality graphics are also required to effectively communicate the messaging of low cost products – and if it’s really worth the effort.
My answer is always yes, they are – and yes, it most certainly is!
It’s a total misconception (although a very common one) that if your business offers low cost products or services, you can get away with scrimping on your website by taking the cheap and easy option of calling in a favour from a relative or family friend who’s done a basic course in graphics – or has no experience at all. Let me assure you, though, that those uber successful, low cost value brands do not employ cheap graphic agencies to make them look cheap! In fact, it’s the complete opposite, because it requires a very special (and rare) skill to make a brand look as low cost as possible without making it look cheap in the bad sense of the word. I don’t think I could articulate it any better than Dolly Parton when she said: “It costs me a lot of money to look this cheap!”
Basically, the important message I’m trying to convey here is that when it comes to graphically communicating products and services – be they luxury or low cost value – it requires the same high level of commitment and understanding of the concept in order to effectively communicate your messaging, improve your conversion metrics and, ultimately, generate more enquiries and sales.
I find it’s always easier to have something tangible to refer to, so in order to demonstrate this and delve a little deeper into the job of using graphics to communicate the differences between luxury and low cost products and services, we created two fictitious ski brands: Ski Paradise and Sheer Ski (yes, we love to ski!).
Using Graphics to Communicate Luxury
The first brand we created for this case study was Sheer Ski, a luxury ski operator that comes in at the very top end of the market. So, let’s take a look at how (and, also very importantly, why) we used selected colours, images, fonts and sales text to graphically communicate the high-end luxury qualities and messaging of this brand’s products.
- Colours. For Sheer Ski we chose sophisticated and ‘quiet’ colours, rather than the bold statement ones that are more commonly associated with value or low cost products. These muted colours set the aesthetic scene for the entire website and convey a sense of quality and luxury from the first look. (The saying “you never get another chance to make a first impression” rings very true when it comes to the online experience.)
- Pictures. Sheer Ski’s product is of an exceptionally high quality, so in order to really emphasise this visually we decided to use appealing pictures of beautiful chalet interiors and gourmet cuisine to set the scene, alongside some very evocative imagery of the mountains.
- Text. Highly effective graphics use text to help convey the brand’s messaging, so, finally, we reinforced the luxury aspect with wording such as, ‘exclusive selection of fine chalets’, ‘indulgence beyond your imagination’, ‘Michelin Star cuisine’ and ‘spectacular ski slopes’. These are not throwaway phrases and the carefully chosen words are designed to tell the story of the brand in the most convincing, appropriate and appealing way.
To show a complete contrast to the luxury Sheer Ski brand, we created another fictitious company called Ski Paradise – an operator offering low-cost ski deals. The message the graphics needed to convey is of great value, good quality ski holidays that are accessible to every budget. We used a number of elements in order to get this message across visually.
- Colours. By using bold primary colours, such as blues and yellows, we were able to give the page a friendly feel, conveying that it’s a straightforward, no nonsense website without pretension. As soon as you land on the page it’s very clear that there’s nothing refined or luxurious about Ski Paradise. It’s been carefully crafted to speak a “low cost” language, for people who aren’t interested in the bells, whistles or celebrity endorsements and just want a great holiday on a low budget.
- Offers. Naturally, travellers who are looking for low cost holidays want to find the best offers in order to maximise their limited budgets – and they don’t want to spend hours and hours trawling the internet to find them. That’s why we made price a major component of the Ski Paradise graphic; so it’s clear at a glance that they offer value for money. By using wording like, ‘Alps from just £359’, listing attractive prices to top locations, offering group discounts and the student “Buy one, get one free” offer all combine to give readers the impression that if they want a great deal on their ski trip, they’re in exactly the right place.
- Quality. It’s important to avoid the mind-set that cheap equates to low quality and be mindful that potential customers want to be sure that, even though they may be looking at a bargain low-cost holiday, they need peace of mind to be able to rely on everything operating smoothly – from flight connections to safety on the slopes. To reinforce this messaging, the graphic is carefully crafted to indicate that the company is reputable, successful and an all round great choice.
How does this Help Improve Conversion Rates and ROI?
Having a website that looks good and is user friendly is vital, but it’s very important to understand (and keep front of mind) the reasons why it’s such an intrinsic part of your business strategy – and that’s not only to attract visitors to your website but also keep them there long enough to turn them into customers.
Obviously the Internet is an incredibly crowded space, and many businesses spend a large proportion of their marketing budgets on generating traffic to their websites – either organically or via the many paid options available in the market today. Website traffic has become an increasingly expensive commodity, which is why it’s so important to invest in CRO strategies and techniques to ensure that the traffic you attract actually converts into enquiries and sales at the required ROI. Because, just like a bricks and mortar retail property, there’s no point getting a continuous stream of foot traffic through the door if the potential customers just wander around aimlessly then leave without purchasing.
That’s where graphic communication really comes into play and it’s why I’m so passionate about helping businesses comprehend the importance of getting that first impression right. By better understanding how graphics can and should be used more effectively to properly communicate WHAT you are selling, WHO are selling it to and WHY your brand is relevant and suitable for your target market, we’re able to convert more of that hard earned traffic into higher numbers of leads and sales from your website.
Over the many years I’ve worked with clients on their digital marketing strategies, one of the most common themes I continue to encounter is that business owners often struggle to find an effective way of connecting and engaging with their core audience. Brand awareness and market positioning are vital aspects of attracting and leveraging the traffic to your website – in other words, turning casual visitors into potentially lucrative customers.
In my experience, the concept of using graphic communication is not only one of the most successful digital tactics you can implement, it’s also one of the simplest. But the flip side of that is that, because it seems so obvious, it is all too often not considered something that’s actually a highly specialised skill. But it is.
How Can We Help?
The team at LeadGenerators has had many years’ experience helping our clients improve the conversion rates of their websites. Not only are we experts at employing graphic communication strategies similar to the one above, but we also analyse and enhance priority sales pages with stronger salesmanship and content. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you make your site work harder for you, please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org