Blog Post - Gary Wilson , Jun 15 2016

Luxury brands must personalise across channels

Luxury brands must personalise across channels

By Gary Wilson, Senior Consultant, Salmon

Luxury brands have traditionally differentiated themselves by the way in which they are able to provide a personal service to their customers.

Many high-end brands have cited this as one of the key reasons for not fully embracing digital commerce.

I consider this thinking flawed in a number of ways.

Today’s luxury shopper is very much part of the digital community, and often, an early adopter of the latest technology or gadget, with which to follow trends, research, buy or just impress their friends.

For luxury brands not to play a key role in this part of consumers ‘digital’ lives will render their brand less relevant over time.

The assertion that a ‘personalised’ experience can only be delivered face to face is, also false. Granted, there are certain experiences that can only be delivered in person, but true personalisation in today’s retail environment, is much more than greeting your customer by their first name, providing a glass of their favourite ‘tipple’ on arrival, or remembering their partner’s birthday.

The opportunity to engage directly, one to one, with customers, is becoming increasingly limited. The number of store visits, to view and browse, is becoming less frequent, due to the wealth of information and content being researched online.

The occasional indulgent impulse purchase aside, an increasing amount of time is now spent in online research prior to making a considered luxury purchase, be it for an outfit, car or holiday.

By understanding this behaviour luxury brands can truly provide an engaging and personalised customer experience.

They can only do this by being where their customers are: across the web, mobile and social channels, capturing insights and learnings about their behaviour and preferences, and developing a deep understanding of their digital footprint.

Only by taking this knowledge and understanding, and doing what great luxury brands do best; creating beautifully crafted and curated content experiences, will they relate, and be relevant to, their consumers’ time and place.

In this way, using data to form closer and more personalised relationships, they become their trusted advisors when it comes to product choice and recommendation.

As a result, customers will no longer need to visit a physical store for luxury brands to know how to interact with them.

There is still the opportunity to differentiate through an engaging and uniquely personalised in-store experience. However this is only part of the story; successful luxury brands, who are leading the way, such as Burberry, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, are those who have not only embraced digital commerce, but are using the knowledge and insights gained digitally, to engage and relate to their customers on every level both online and in person.