The luxury retail market is buoyant, but when and how should a brand target these lucrative customers? The answer, in the style of a game of Retail Cluedo, is to hit them with an Offer, on a Tuesday, through a Tablet device, according to the latest analysis by Rakuten Marketing's affiliate network, Rakuten LinkShare. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

The analysis over a six month period of over 400 online retail brands in the fashion, luxury and beauty sectors in the UK, identified trends in buyer behaviour including the ever-spending luxury shopper, as well as the biggest shopping days and most influential devices.

Despite the fact that the UK has only recently come out of recession, luxury sales have continued to flourish. British shoppers are still spending huge amounts on luxury brands, with the sector growing strongly this same period every year since 2011. In fact sales rose by nearly 40% between 2012 and 2013 and by nearly 30% from 2013 to 2014.

In fashion, luxury and beauty, tablets show the strongest conversion rates across the network (at 4.1%), followed by PC (3.0%), then mobile phone (1.3%). However, PCs actually drive the biggest volume (i.e. value) of sales for these sectors, as the device used for the actual purchase tends to differ according to how much shoppers are spending. The average order value on a PC for luxury shoppers is higher than on a mobile or tablet, suggesting that consumers still feel more comfortable carrying out the more detailed research, required for higher value purchases, on a PC.

"Although the tablet is the king of conversions, PCs should also be used to target big spenders. However, it's important to bear in mind that in reality shoppers will actually use all of their devices at some point in the shopping journey. For example, most consumers browse on a mobile phone in the morning during a commute, then continue to research products on their desktop during a lunch break and finally make a purchase on their tablet at home in the evening," explained Sumitra Joy, analytics manager for Rakuten Marketing. "As a result, brands need to optimise the experience across all screens; the wider screen appeals to desktop spenders looking for detailed product information, but using dynamic images and video helps brands appeal to the visually-led tablet user."

And Tuesdays saw the highest sales across the entire network; in fact, brands can boost their sales by 28% on this day compared to Saturday, the lowest selling day of the week. PC sales dominate through the week, but in contrast, tablet sales are particularly high at the weekend. On Saturdays and Sundays tablet sales increase, accounting for 25% of total sales made on these days.

"On Tuesdays there's a long way to go until the weekend, so targeting consumers when they're looking for a boost is the optimum time to convert their interest to a sale," noted Joy. "Tempting shoppers with lunchtime deals delivered through desktop ads or rewards for buying on the way home served through geo-location technology, are a great way to pique interest."

And what of loyalty?
Over 70% of beauty shoppers use either loyalty, rewards, or voucher sites before deciding to buy, showing the value of offering an incentive to shoppers. These publishers have the highest conversion rate across the network, averaging 18% across the fashion, beauty and luxury verticals, indicating that the consumer will engage - and spend - more with a brand if they are also earning rewards.

Fashion buyers are converted through loyalty but also visit more varied publishers, like style blogs and shopping portals, however these sites have lower conversion rates for these buyers. When it comes to luxury sales, 67% of these come through shopping sites due to the popularity of large, high-end platforms like ShopStyle and Polyvore with this audience.

"Marketers must fully understand their audiences if they are to attribute budget successfully across numerous channels. Only by understanding how these channels interplay, and with detailed measurement in place, can brands understand whether their campaigns are working and therefore adapt to improve them," concluded Joy.