While it is hard to keep up with the ever-evolving trends of social media, advanced technology, and the standards that retailers are now expected to meet, there are a few trends that luxury brands should meticulously track. These include; a better mobile interaction, creative retail experiences, and a more intimate connection between the brand and consumer.
THE ONLINE GENERATION
As the number of millennial luxury consumers continues to rise (expected to make up 45% of the luxury retail market by 2025), it is crucial for luxury brands to provide a convenient and easy online interface and mobile experience.
An article on Wealth-X states, “A significant portion of the luxury market is now engaging information through their mobile devices and in many cases this is a brands first point of contact to a potential consumer.” If Millennials are spending most of their time on Instagram and YouTube and other social apps, they are more likely to engage with the brands and industry professionals that are also making an impact on these platforms. While online retailing and social media isn’t everything, it is KEY in creating a brand in today’s world that everyone feels the NEED to be a part of.
Users want to be able to quickly shift gears from one shopping site to another or to easily find brands by sifting through social media. According to projections, an engaged online audience and user-friendly interface is only going to grow in worth, to numbers as high as 20%, over the next decade.
CAPTURED BY CREATIVITY
More than previous generations, today’s consumers seem unafraid to pursue their passions and they expect retailers to provide a unique experience that directly links to or advances their lifestyle.
Attention spans have become incredibly short in our fast-paced digital age, and consumers, especially in the younger generations, expect to be entertained by brands. A creative and eye-catching presence online could make or break luxury retailers going forward.
In our digital world, inspiring photography and videography have become a necessity to better engage the online consumer and to appeal to the lifestyle they are striving to build into a reality. Consumers themselves are becoming more creative and passionate and choose to invest in brands that encourage these patterns.If a brand creates imagery that speaks to these passions and goals, a consumer feels validated and is more likely to invest in the company.
Online or offline, experiential retail is quickly becoming the future of luxury retail marketing. Brands engaging with their customers gives the shopper a sense of involvement, subconsciously empowering the buyer by allowing them to feel like they could be a part of something new and exclusive.
On the flip-side, brick-and-mortar stores now need to make their in-store shopping experience incredibly personal and stimulating so people have a reason to leave the comfort of their homes to shop.
While Abercrombie & Fitch is not considered a luxury brand, they provide a great example giving an exclusive in-store shopping experience. Abercrombie saw their sales and original branding that once forced parents to drive their begging kids to the mall, crashing over the last few years. But with a few tweaks and fast response, they were able to quickly turn things around. What did they do? They removed their shirtless male models and replaced it with an inspiring shopping experience. They created a smaller, more intimate, boutique experience in their stores, complete with state-of-the-art dressing room lighting and music (both customizable), beautiful mannequin displays creating a runway down the middle of the store, and inclusive events including food and hosts of bloggers and other social influencers. Their brand became about the experience and began driving people back to their stores and even online to shop.
People remember and are impacted by experiences.
In a world where many things have become superficial, people are still yearning to be part of something bigger and better. Luxury brands have the capabilities to provide that experience for them, which results in satisfied and returning customers.
As the luxury market and the luxury consumer continues to transform, change itself becomes the only real absolute. But for now, we can also count on consumers continuing to care about the overall brand presence, accessibility, and experience. Luxury brands that can consistently provide personalized and creative marketing and interaction, online or in person, will perform well in 2018, and brands that don’t, well, they will inevitably suffer.