Democratising information is arguably one of the most important pillars of the internet, which is true for every product from basic supplies to luxury goods.
However, for luxury retailers this presents a conflict as much of their branding is based on the idea of exclusivity. Consequently, luxury brands have typically been slower to incorporate digital transformations into their marketing strategy.
Now brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Tiffany & Co. are having to up their game when it comes to their online offering, so that they are able to serve the wealthier consumers, who research has shown to be doing more and more of their shopping online.
According to research by the Adobe Digital Price Index, the American states with the biggest online shoppers were D.C., New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland, which are also the states that have the highest per capita incomes.
Predictions also show an increase in the percentage of online sales for luxury goods, growing from 8% in 2016 to 19% in 2025, according to McKinsey & Company. And consumers are increasingly using online searches in order to research luxury purchases.
The French luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH, owns brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi and Dom Perignon amongst many others. The company has announced its accelerator program for international start-ups as a way of searching for smart ways to integrate technology, and digital services into their brands.
Ideas so far include: creating chatbots to improve online customer service and a visual recognition-based predictive technology that could create customised items of clothing to fit and suit the individual consumer.
Gucci recently launched its ‘Gucci Hallucination’ campaign, a collaboration with artist Ignasi Monreal, that uses augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to its fullest.
As part of the ads, there are in-store AR and VR installations, which allow the consumer to become part of the campaign – and there are also scannable ads that aim to create the same experience for online shoppers
Part of the LVMH empire – Chanel, like Gucci, is also embracing AI – having created a tool that consumers can use to detect counterfeit products with their smartphones.
Moreover, Chanel’s best digital asset is their huge presence on Instagram. Chanel has more followers than any of its luxury competitors – a major achievement seeing as social media is one of the top sources of web traffic for luxury brands.
Tiffany & Co.
If a large social media following is one of the best ways to drive traffic, then Google is number one. Tiffany & Co. are notable for their dominance in search results.
L2 Inc. found that Tiffany is more visible across every region that they analysed, with the company dominating the first page of results bar two links.
Tiffany & Co. dominate the Google Local 3-Pack – even when spelt incorrectly – and their images fill the visual SERPs, with 48 of 50 images relating to the brand and their products.
The luxury American department store, Neiman Marcus, has focused on integrating online and in-store experiences to improve their customers’ experience – which resulted in being awarded the 2017 IRT Retailer Innovation Award for Customer Engagement.
The Neiman Marcus website remembers the customers’ sizes (based on previous searches), and sends personalised mail and email to let shoppers know that the items that they have looked at online are now in-store.
When customers are in the shop itself, their ‘MemoryMirror’ technology means that customers can take 360-degree videos of themselves in the changing room, which can be found and re-watched later in the app.
This can also be utilised when trying on make-up in store as demonstrated here:
The department store is also using visual search to allow their customers to take a picture of an item that they like – be it on a stranger in the street, or in a photo in a magazine – and their app will produce a list of similar items that the customer may like to purchase.
These five luxury brands are carving a new path for themselves, using digital technology to make their customer experience, and therefore their brand, more luxurious.
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