In a world where 87% of consumer purchases are digitally influenced, brands must embrace digital touchpoints to survive and prosper. But many brands avoid the jump into digital, fearing that it will dilute their customer experience and the personal touch they are known for. These brands need to look no further than the luxury space for proof of what is possible.
Luxury brands have long been the reigning kings when it comes to customer service, but as the world has shifted to a digital-first mindset, they have had to radically change their approach to delivering the exceptional experiences they are known for.
Ten years ago, it wasn’t just that luxury brands ignored digital channels, they believed that the luxury world could never be replicated in the digital space. Fast forward to today, and many young luxury brands, like Bonobos, are born in digital and establishing success before ever creating a traditional presence.
Additionally, heritage brands like Badgley Mischka are embracing digital and using it to plus-up their experiences. For example, Badgley Mischka created an artificial reality (AR) app for fashion week that allowed viewers to learn more about the dress on the runway, see the details up close, and record notes for later view and purchase.
In addition to digital’s personalization power, it has also created a seismic shift in the customer journey … Today, shoppers engage with a brand nearly 15 times before making a purchase.
Brands that are succeeding today understand that digital or in-store in not a choice. Instead, they believe that finding ways to merge technology into the business model and evolving the way that consumers can experience the brand is more important.
Introducing Luxury 4.0
Many are calling this the “Luxury 4.0 operating model,” a model in which brands and retailers are leaning into data and technology to get closer to their customers, capture individual preferences, and deliver catered experiences.
Fashion brand Dior has built its business on personalized, high-touch experiences, enhancing its capabilities by blending technology and in-store experiences. Dior’s robust customer relationship management (CRM) platform captures clients’ preferences over time and uses that data to set up private client salons. These private rooms are staged with clothing in each client’s size and style, their favorite food and drink, and accompanied by their favorite music.
But it doesn’t end there.
Imagine a client who experienced this service was seeking out the perfect outfit for a speaking engagement. A few days later, the store automates a flower delivery to wish her luck. All of this is possible through technology.
Digital technology has fractured the customer journey
In addition to digital’s personalization power, it has also created a seismic shift in the customer journey. The traditional journey contained an average of nine touchpoints, but digital has fractured that journey. Today, shoppers engage with a brand nearly 15 times before making a purchase. While many of this may occur in-store, at least half will be in the digital space. And each experience will set the bar for the next, shaping what customers expect from you both online and in-store.
By the way, the bar is already high.
Amazon has created a seamless experience from e-store to door, combining compelling content with one-click purchasing and stress-free delivery that is tracked at every step. These brand behaviors have become the expectation, and consumers from Generation Z to Baby Boomers expect the brands they do business with to meet these same expectations.
Meeting customers in the digital space
Preparing to meet these digital-first consumers where they are—across any channel or touchpoint—is not something that can happen overnight. It will require organizational change.
Your marketing team must integrate with IT to not only deliver messaging but enable seamless experiences. Channels must be optimized for data capture and technology must be enabled to support a single view of the customers. Partnerships should be explored to strengthen in-house capabilities.
Through a merging of technology and strategy, your brand will not only survive the shift to digital but also be strengthened through new ways of experiencing it.