High-net-worth individuals are constantly craving innovative and immersive experiences. Luxury brands, if they are to thrive, must meet these expectations. Some are doing just that.
Here are eight luxury brands that have picked up on the key trends and stood out during 2015 so far.
The importance of digital in the luxury space is increasingly key, with a growing number of brands innovatively using digital touch points to connect with the digital-savvy consumer and millennial generation. This growth is only set to continue as younger generations become leading spenders. More luxury retailers are now embracing the use of technology to enhance the purchasing experience and delight their customers across channels.
“ More luxury retailers are now embracing the use of technology to enhance the purchasing experience ”
CASE STUDY: NEIMAN MARCUS
The American department store Neiman Marcus is transforming its retail experience with a new interactive touch point called the Memory Mirror. The mirror enables shoppers to see outfits from 360-degrees, as well as save and share, allowing them to compare the outfits side-by-side.
CASE STUDY: CHRISTIAN DIOR
Meanwhile, Christian Dior is blending technology and couture with the introduction of virtual reality headsets in a number of its boutiques, creating an immersive 3D experience with its collection and runway atmosphere. By rolling out ‘Dior Eyes’ in a number of its stores, Dior maintains its relevance and provides an elevated in-store experience.
“ Heritage still plays an important role in the future survival of luxury brands ”
Celebrating and promoting heritage still plays an important role in the future survival of luxury brands. Creating memorable ways for consumers to be immersed in a brand’s heritage can strengthen brand equity and create long-term financial award for the business.
CASE STUDY: LAND ROVER
Take Land Rover. For the first time, Land Rover enthusiasts can experience the brand’s rich heritage by getting behind the wheels of some of its most historic vehicles at a new customer facility in the UK. A variety of packages are available allowing customers to focus on a particular decade, or to journey through Land Rover’s heritage, right up to the present day line-up. The experience is different to what Land Rover has offered before, and is a great way to engage customers in the brand’s history.
“ Brands must give their consumers the sensation of luxury ”
In the digital age, luxury is defined less by products than by experiences, and there is a continual shift from ‘having’ to ‘being’. Selling luxury products is now not enough – brands must also give their consumers the sensation of luxury.
CASE STUDY: CHANEL
Chanel is immersing consumers into its brand and heritage by launching a Chanel Spa in the prestigious Hôtel Ritz in Paris, where Chanel founder Coco Chanel once lived for more than three decades. Besides facials and five-star pedicures, Chanel’s extensive skin-care products will also take center stage inside the soon-to-be-opened ‘temple of beauty’, providing women with a unique and authentic experience.
CASE STUDY: HERMES
Hermès, designer of the famously wait-listed “Birkin” bag, marked the opening of its new store in Washington by hosting a lavish dinner for 120 top clients, who made it to the guest list for being affluent shoppers. From foie gras and pea-crusted lamb loin to an intricate flower pot dessert, 60 waiters delivered the meal in synchronised precision, with a costume change at each course. Although the dinner did little to showcase the Hermès collection, it did create a memorable and very exclusive experience for its high-net-worth clientele.
“ Sustainability is key to all brands, and for millennials in particular ”
Sustainability is key to all brands, and millennials in particular put additional emphasis on the conscience behind brands – especially in the luxury space. Increasingly brands are taking the time to promote awareness for causes, and position themselves as a catalyst for change.
CASE STUDY: SELFRIDGES
One such brand is Selfridges which is removing plastic bottles from its store, accounting for approximately 400,000 bottles annually, to help reduce pollution of the ocean. Customers won’t go thirsty, though, as the project is supported by activities within Selfridges’ London store including the opening of a new traditional public drinking fountain and a Water Bar. The initiative is part of an ongoing partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Marine Reserves Coalition (MRC).
“ Brands must think further afield and target their customer globally ”
Luxury consumers are constantly on the move, and they increasingly want brands that can cater to their needs where and whenever they want. It is not enough for a luxury brand to be selling in its own market – brands must think further afield and know where to target their customer globally.
CASE STUDY: FARFETCH
Farfetch, the luxury online retailer, is targeting affluent travellers who are sailing the Mediterranean this summer by adding the option to have purchases delivered directly to their nearest port across 13 cities. These can then be collected the next time the boat docks.
CASE STUDY: ROLLS-ROYCE
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce is back in Porto Cervo with its Summer Studio after a successful season last summer. Porto Cervo is one of the most popular yachting destinations in the Mediterranean, and is the perfect place for Rolls-Royce to reach potential high-net-worth cliental whilst they are on their travels. Guests will also have the opportunity to experience a test drive on the beautiful roads of the Costa Smeralda. That’s a drive they’ll never forget.
And there’s the overall aim; provide customers with unforgettable experiences. Whether that’s through innovation, sustainability, heritage or omnipotence, the opportunities are huge. As we’ve seen, the very best luxury brands are already thriving on this journey.
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