29 May 2024, 03:55
By Ric Waters Jul 10, 2018

Upholstery’s digital winners (and losers)

In its annual Sofa Retailers Insight Report, digital marketing specialist Inside Online ranks 52 of the sector’s leading websites according to their performance, assessing the successes and shortcomings of each, and identifying scope for improvement. Ric Waters shares the key findings …

With a +9% increase in their visibility over the past year, DFS remains top of the market, while House of Fraser fell out of the top 10 after a 58% decrease.

Other stand-out results in terms of visibility include: Sofology (+79%) and Darlings of Chelsea (+52%) also recorded large increases among the top 10; six of the top 10 saw a drop in their visibility YoY; and Leather Sofa World saw a -41% drop on the previous year, but remained in the top 10.

No slouching on social

The social score considers followers and engaged conversations on all major social platforms. DFS tops the social chart with by far the highest number of brand searches and the biggest owned social score, thanks in part to their sponsorship of Team GB and the popular #MyDFS campaign, which allows people to post and share images of their own DFS sofas.

The top five social scorers were: DFS at the top with an owned social score of 661 and 550,000 monthly searches; Sofology and ScS are tied in second place for monthly searches with 1,500,000 – but the latter has a lower owned score, of 106; Fabb Sofas and Sofa Sofa round out the top five for social searches per month.

Fabb Sofas has a high brand search, with 33,100 – however, this hasn’t translated to their owned social score (0). Similarly, Sofa Sofa has a high brand search (22,200) but recorded an owned score of just 10.

Questionable connections

Links have always been a massive ranking factor, and can make all the difference to how far up a brand appears on Google. Consistently gaining new high quality links can be great for business – however, high link volumes without the quality could spell trouble ahead.

DFS leads in links, with most going to products and product images as well as interactive buying guides, while a section called The Sofa Experts offers a behind-the-scenes look into the design and production of their sofas.

There are several sites with high quality, low volume links – these include Vamosi, Oak Tree Mobility, the Lounge Co, Online Sofa Wholesale and Authentic Furniture.

Conversely, there are also sites with low quality, high volume links, such as Designer Sofas 4 U, ScS, Darlings of Chelsea, Sofa Sofa and The Chesterfield Co. 

Consistently gaining a high quantity of low-authority links highlights an urgent need to address a business’ off-site reputation.

Final thoughts

My colleague Gemma Curtis offers a few of her own thoughts on the report: “The sofa retail sector has had a mixed level of success this year, with some retailers gaining huge wins and some suffering big losses in terms of visibility,” she says.

“Overall, DFS are leading the charts for social, links and visibility. But they should keep an eye on Sofology who, if they continue in the same vein as last year, could see themselves major contenders for ScS’ second-place spot after a +79% increase in visibility and an impressive overall social score.

“House of Fraser Made to Order Sofas have also dropped out of the top 10 after a -58% loss in their visibility.”

Ric Waters is the sales and marketing director at Inside Online, an award-winning agency that specialises in integrated search marketing.

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