Luxury fashion brands today are just as likely to gain media attention from their in-store and marketing innovations, as they are from their latest catwalk looks.
We see luxury retailers investing in VIP or ‘white glove’ services such as personalisation and assisted selling in stores, using mobile tablets and apps to supercharge engagement levels with digital-savvy Millennials and Gen Z-ers.
Brands including Coach and New York’s 3 X 1 Denim offer customisation of their luxurious bags and jeans. Meanwhile designer labels are using ground-breaking social media campaigns to delight and inspire shoppers around world, as Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Prada are doing so creatively.
Blending online and offline to build relationships
The blend of technology and human expertise is at the heart of these brands’ omnichannel strategies. It’s revealing that British luxury fashion house Burberry has recently teamed up with Apple Pay to launch R Message – an in-app chat service, linking the brand’s online and in-store elements. R Message will allow high-spending clients to shop online with a seamless payment system, as well as communicate directly with Burberry assistants in store to enquire about products or book private appointments for personal shopping and style advice.
Burberry plans to pilot R Message at its Manchester flagship store first, before rolling it out to 431 locations and 6,000 store associates around the world. This initiative confirms how the roles of the luxury brand store and the store associate are being reinvented for digital-first shoppers. If online interest can be driven back to the store, it means brands can fully optimise engagement and sales across all their touchpoints – the holy grail of omnichannel. Upselling, cross selling and a broader brand experience is more likely in an assisted sale scenario, complemented by digital channels and interactions, the thinking goes.
“Luxury stores are focusing on giving insider access to the brand and unique experiences that are impossible to replicate online,” says Kevin Larke, Director of Sales, ShopperTrak, commenting in our latest report Luxury Retail and Traffic Data. The report outlines the key trends currently driving the luxury retail renaissance, and details how people counting and traffic data analytics can help these brands understand shopper behaviour better, and make the most of their store portfolios and omnichannel strategies.
Insights for seamless store experiences
The future of luxury retail is about building lasting relationship with customers. That means tapping into the very latest technology while keeping pace with evolving customer behaviour trends. What’s essential in the physical space is the ability to track customer behaviour patterns. It’s possible to then utilize all the data available to ensure the desired customer experience is being delivered AND is driving commercial success – namely conversions.
In this new holistic luxury realm, the pressure is on for sales associates to deliver on the brand promise when followers step into a store. With traffic analytics, luxury stores can develop their staffing schedules based on accurate traffic forecasts, and this will provide solid foundations for a truly VIP customer experience.
In luxury stores the human touch is precious
According to research from PWC, customers are willing to pay a price premium of up to 18% for luxury and indulgence services, simply by receiving a great customer experience.
When sales associates demonstrate genuine expertise, offer advice and personal recommendations, they can become a trusted shopping companion, driving conversions and loyalty. But they must be available when these high valued shoppers need them.
Traffic data reveals when high-opportunity seasonal peaks in footfall will occur, and when weekly Power Hours should be expected. Scheduling in line with these insights ensures the store has the appropriate Shopper-to-Associate Ratio (STAR) on the shop floor. When this is achieved, every conversion opportunity can be pursued and premium service delivered to customers. It also helps to differentiate selling time and store tasks time, so that the customer experience is never compromised. If store associates’ time is needed for communicating with online customers, this too can be factored into scheduling.
Data insights lead to extraordinary service
Consumers are no longer tolerant of mediocre service.
Luxury brand retailers must raise their game if they want to differentiate from rivals and survive in this fast-changing digital era.
Research by customer data platform Segment found that 49 percent of shoppers have made impulse buys after receiving a personalised recommendation, and 44 percent became repeat buyers after receiving personalised experiences.
Clienteling, VIP services and cross-channel consultancy should not be beyond the reach of any retailer that wants to build an experience. Having access to traffic data – revealing dwell time, power hours, conversion rates and sales per shopper – will allow brands the luxury of knowing what to expect. They can also track performance over time – priceless insight to ensure innovations are propelling the business in the right direction.
Download our eBook Luxury Retail and Traffic Data if you’d like to improve the performance of your luxury retail operation, using traffic data insights.