Today’s consumers move constantly between the virtual and physical worlds. At some level we have all created digital twins that live in our digital alternate reality – virtual versions of ourselves made up of everything we do and have done online. Our virtual world, within the confines of one of our favourite brands – all consistent aesthetics, pleasing offers and personal touches – can become a safe haven, a place where we belong without question. Powerful omni-channel campaigns run by savvier brands make our virtual reality strongly appealing… some might say addictive.
Don’t burst the bubble
What is the challenge then, for retailers with brick and mortar stores built for real life people to come into and spend money in? It’s in making the transition from virtual to real seamless, even pleasurable. In cocooning the customer in your unique brand experience from screen to store and back to screen without a jarring. Luxury brands in particular should be able to rise to this challenge given their desirability – but luxury brands are often accused of resting on their laurels. Perhaps optimising their web presence and successfully creating an enviable Instagram page and community – but not focussing on optimising the transition, through multichannel marketing, through bringing the virtual world in to the store using video and immersive experiences that bring echoes of the virtual element of the brand into the reality of the store – so that customers have to fight an underlying sense of being disappointed: this is not what I expected.
Our work with Tiffany is a case in point for the sumptuous experience luxury brands can offer through audio visual solutions in-store.
Which brands can provide inspiration for luxury brands to draw from? Who is doing it best? Luxury brands would do well to look at some of the High Street giants who have embraced the challenge today’s consumers have put in front of them.
Just does it. Nike
Walk into Nike’s flagship store in NYC – The House Of Innovation – and the not-Nike world falls away, fast. Nike have created a hugely innovative in-store experience that simulates using their app, in a brick and mortar space. From instant check-out using your mobile phone and the Nike app, to scanning items that prompts a member of staff to bring it to you in your requested size, to DIY stands for customisation working with Nike in-store designers – what you can do on the app you can pretty much do in-store. The entire store floor is customisable using innovative AR – which means that the floor can become a basketball court or a football field, for example.
Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike’s direct-to-consumer business states the Nike vision for consumers clearly: it’s more than a store — it’s a personal sports experience.
Timberland stores now come with “TouchWalls”. These interactive screen ‘walls’ feature online-only products that customers can touch to explore more information or to add to their shopping at check-out. Timberland has done an exceptional job of integrating hand-held mobile devices as part of the shopping experience.
L’Occitane en Provence (more commonly known simply as L’Occitane) successfully brought Provence to New York by combining physical elements of Provence (an olive tree and fragranced rain-shower sink, for example) with digital screens that portrayed the brand’s history, story and signature products in an immersive setting.
In our own work with Ted Baker we utilised digital signage network to simplify the management of content to ensure continuity across the Ted Baker retail and office network globally, from a single central location. Using The Scala content management system we were able to deliver at scale rolling out in The UK, Europe, USA, China & The UAE.
The luxury brands making waves.
Some luxury brands are, of course, rising to the challenge with style – Tiffany’s and Balenciaga are examples of brands that have created experiences online and offline that meet the needs of a younger, digitally integrated, generation of shoppers. By drawing on methods that high street brands are implementing to stay relevant to their consumers – luxury brands can find a way to ensure their legacy stays alive in an ever-more digital market that craves real experiences that are as wonderful as their virtual ones and virtual experiences that echo their aspirations. To learn how to transform your brands in-store experience get in touch