In this article we discuss how engaging a new generation of shoppers who have never known life without online shopping makes it essential for luxury brands to create digitally-friendly in-store experiences for their customers that echo their brand. The coming generations of shoppers present an interesting new paradigm for brands to grapple with:
“Millennials and Gen Z consumers want to step in and out of a seamless shopping experience across every channel. They are likely to start their buying journey online, looking at images or reading content. They research, they go in store and they shop on the go. It’s all the same to them, and it has to be that way for the retailer, too. “(Forbes)
Embracing Visual Social Networks
As much as 85% of luxury brand purchases are motivated by online experiences, luxury products are, by their nature, beautiful to look at. They are to a certain extent functional works of art and while tradition requires the gallery-like experience of the Chanel store or a Porsche showroom – advances in technology and the visual beauty of luxury products lends this market perfectly to the visually-driven consumer marketplace where Instagram is King and Pinterest is arguably Queen, and some more forward-thinking luxury giants have made the most of the aesthetic opportunity to raise brand awareness through these channels.
Pinterest profiles of brands like Chanel and 77 Diamonds in London are examples of how brands can reach out without overstating their promotional goals. Balenciaga’s Spring ‘19 Instagram campaign is a powerful example of luxury brands meeting art meeting the market as it shocks and inspires, showcases garments and makes you desperately curious to go and interact with it all in the brick and mortar of the store. That desire to go in-store and experience the virtual in person is where brands have the opportunity to close the deal on customer advocacy. It’s also where we come in.
Augmented Brand Heritage
The reason, of course, that luxury brands are as premium as they are is because of their heritage, the work that goes into each item, the story behind the product. Brands that bring their heritage story to life online effectively, are met in-store with consumers who know just how valuable the products they’re finally touching, trying on or riding around in, are. Augmenting the in-store experience with aspects of the online experience completes the immersion process – wrapping the consumer in an experience of the luxury brand that they don’t want to, and don’t have to leave.
Tiffany’s is a good example of a brand that has achieved a frictionless online/offline brand journey. Their YouTube channel, showcases heirloom stories as well as current campaign stories that link directly to the Gen Z and Y market. In our work with them we mirrored that online experience for them. The Tiffany’s that you find in Covent Gardens is the very one you imagined you’d find, replete with tea, cake and personalisation options. Here is a brand with a fairy tale to share.
Get in touch to learn more about our work with Tiffanys email firstname.lastname@example.org
Create Exclusivity Online
Customisation, personalisation and VIP treatment options add that aspirational value to luxury brands that is so closely tied to their appeal. For Millennials exclusivity might start online but the desire to belong to an exclusive club is something they equally seek through their consumer choices – each choice providing a sign are the biggest driving force behind the popularity of couture in the 21st century…
“Along with Gen Z, Millennial spending power will account for 45% of the global personal luxury goods market by 2025 according to a study by Bain & Company. In the fast-fashion world of democratised luxury, many Millennials opt for experiences over products – so retailers need to be ever more creative if they want to lure customers away from the ease of online shopping. And what could be more immersive than being personally fitted for your garment by a designer and a team of couturiers?” (Vogue)
Immersion is key. Whether online or offline, brands that stand out create an entire experience for their customer. The online experience flows seamlessly into the store so that one is an echo of the other. Luxury brands that embrace omnichannel strategies are thriving. In this adapt-or-die age of social media and eCommerce, some of these strategies have kept them at the top.