Until recently, many luxury brands have used their websites as glossy, aspirational showcases with little to no eCommerce services. Similarly, customers have headed to exclusive shopping areas to experience the pomp and ceremony of designer boutiques and department stores, where they’ve enjoyed the full red carpet experience whilst shopping. However, with Millennials and Generation X making up 30% of luxury spending, high end retail is having to reconsider their online presence to match and even rival their in-store experience. The challenge of how to provide the same high end, personalised and seamless service their customers not only desire but expect, is a tough one. There are a number of solutions to aid in connecting digital and physical channels using artificial intelligence (AI). With connotations of otherworldliness and dehumanisation, some have shied away from the concept of AI but the truth is, it enables businesses to provide a more personalised experience for their customers. With AI, eCommerce retailers can analyse millions of interactions daily, helping them to tailor services to a single customer. AI provides business with potential to improve engagement, personalisation and profitability across all channels. It can do this by analysing customer-specific variables, evaluating more data than individual marketers possibly could. With these insights, unique customer profiles can be created with personalised experiences. AI could boost profitability rates by 59% in the wholesale and retail industries by 2035. Accenture.
Hero, whose aim is to be ‘building the eCommerce layer for physical retail’ was founded in 2015. Their offering – best described by Business Insider as ‘Whatsapp for shopping, connecting shop assistants with online shoppers’ – extends the personal and expert service a customer expects from a luxury brand in-store to their online experience. It does this by having a sales associate brandishing a tablet in-store, shop with the online customers where they can chat about specific products/queries. Users of Hero include the luxe department store Harvey Nichols, they cite immediate and impressive results because they don’t lose customers who are shopping online and need help. Of course, it’s not just ease of use that motivates people to buy from a certain brand. Markets, tastes and wants change. Consumers now invest in brands with purpose and meaning, they buy into their story. Purpose, ethics and sustainability are all drivers digital agencies and marketers can work with to increase engagement. “Luxury brands are inherently more sustainable; as they value quality, craftsmanship, design over quantity. The luxury industry has the capability to drive innovations through the supply chain, innovating on materials, packaging and different business models making a positive impact in the world. I truly believe that consumer behaviour – especially when it comes to their purchasing decisions – are changing: we want to buy less but better, and luxury is an enabler to that as quality and durability are inherent in the product.” – Diana Verde Nieto, Founder, Positive Luxury Positive Luxury is an award winning client of Strawberrysoup. Their mission is to accelerate a global culture shift, redefining success in business and building a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They are doing this with the use of ‘The Butterfly Mark’ which ‘identifies the luxury brands that meet the highest standards of verified innovation, social and environmental performance’. Thus helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions.
Consumers want to feel there’s a positive story in what they are buying.
Farfetch is an API-enabled proprietary technology stack, a foundation for three components: applications, services and data. It holds no stock but connects shoppers with luxury brands worldwide, it remains a technology company, not a retailer. Farfetch gives their independent retail partners a reliable and cohesive way to sell their wares in a global marketplace and its users a unique and current shopping experience.
As eCommerce landscapes are ever evolving, luxury brands are starting to accept that the way their customers want to interact with them and their products is increasingly online and so they are shifting from simply marketing online, to selling there as well. Retail is no longer the ‘what’ but the ‘how’ and successful businesses will embrace this and endeavour to make the transition.
Here at Strawberrysoup, we have years of accumulated experience within our team of working with luxury brands in fashion, travel, hospitality and food & drink.
Not only have we helped our clients reaffirm their brand positioning online, but over the years we’ve helped them to solve complex UX and eCommerce challenges with bespoke solutions.
If you have a project in mind, at Strawberrysoup, we offer a complimentary initial consultation. Whether it’s over a coffee, or a chat on the phone, we’d love to hear from you.