Luxury retail has always been set apart from the rest of the fast-fashion and retail industry. Look no further than how heavily brands have invested in creating in-store experiences that are unique, personal and relevant. Customers’ online shopping experiences should be no different.
However, emulating the 1:1 personalized in-store experience can be somewhat complex. A digital store lacks the tactile experience of being in a brand’s curated environment, the one-on-one help from sales associates and managers, and also the ability to try on and touch and feel products which can costs thousands of dollars. More and more luxury brands are finding that personalization technology is helping them to overcome these and other issues in replicating this similar experience for their customers online, while allowing retailers to tackle the challenge of scale at the same time.
‘If you can’t beat them, join them’
With the impact digital is having on how shoppers choose brands and goods, luxury brands stand to lose if they aren’t creating the experience their customers have come to expect – and demand. According to research firm McKinsey, nearly 80 percent of luxury sales today are ‘digitally influenced,” with consumers hitting one or more digital touchpoints in their shopping journeys. They also expect online luxury sales to triple by 2025, with millennials using on average 4.5 devices to make a purchase. Qubit has found that the influence of mobile on e-commerce overall is on average 19 percent—up an impressive 90 percent since 2016.
When it comes to effective personalization strategies, those that work for other retailers might not necessarily be the best to employ in luxury. For example, fast-fashion retailers can rely on flash promotions to increase sales, but this same approach definitely isn’t one undertaken in luxury at the risk of devaluing the brand.
Instead, luxury brands should lead the way with relevance and curated experiences: using innovative tactics that appeal to their clientele by promoting the right products, to the right visitors, at the right time. By putting the customer front and center, luxury brands are strengthening their relationship with their visitors and engendering trust and loyalty customers.
Here are five personalization strategies ready-made for the luxury retail market:
A trending feed is an effective way to inspire guests with hot products. Although similar to recommendations, the algorithm that powers the feed is very different. For example, during the numerous fashion weeks that happen across the world—in Paris, London, Milan or New York—one way to inspire visitors is to show them what’s trending in those respective cities. Surfacing a feed that inspires is a great way to engage and personalize for fashion-conscious customers.
Reserve special offers for those ultra-engaged shoppers
The vast majority of shoppers will only make one purchase from a brand, but those who make additional purchases tend to be significantly more loyal. With that in mind, using an offer to get over that second purchase hump can be very effective. The offer itself could be free or expedited shipping, or early access to new collections, but the key is the specific signal that should trigger the offer. For example, if a visitor views a product more than three times there’s a good chance they’ll purchase it with the right nudge.
Another potential situation that warrants an offer is if you observe someone highlighting a product name. This is a sign that the guest could be copying and pasting the product name on a search engine for price comparisons—a perfect time to serve up an offer before they bounce from the site.
Make your home page ‘experiential’
The home page should be considered in a similar manner to a store’s window display. With personalization, the sky really is the limit in terms of the tactics you can use. It’s therefore important to feature content that is most useful and relevant to your guests. If a visitor arrives for the first time, the information you have about them will be very limited. Therefore, you should show popular items, new arrivals and imagery from the latest campaign. If the guest is a regular, deliver a variety of tailored suggestions based on their personal style, what they looked at before, or what’s trending right now.
Tasteful email collection
Email campaigns done correctly are both good for marketing and useful for connecting a customer across the different channels where they may engage with your brand. However, timing and consent is critical. An email at the point of purchase is appropriate. Here are some other approaches to increase customer retention and build loyalty:
- To enable a reminder when an item is out of stock
- When a guest would like to add an item to their wishlist
- News on store openings or other important customer-focused events
- For first-time customers, send a reminder email if they abandon their shopping cart
Find the right level of customer intimacy
There are many websites that welcome guests back by name. This is a great touch, but a word of caution—get the guest’s permission and preference to how they want to be addressed. For example: Tom. Thomas. Thomas Dean. Mr. Dean. These may all be appropriate greetings in the U.S. or U.K., but if Tom is a high-net-worth-individual in Dubai, that might not be the case. In luxury, one small mistake, like the inappropriate greeting. can alienate potential customers.
Blurring the lines between the in-store and online experience might seem impractical or too difficult to achieve, but in reality, it isn’t. It all revolves around rolling out the red carpet and putting the customer first by using data from every stop on the shopping journey to truly get to know them, their habits, preferences, and even how they like to be greeted in order to deliver the perfect shopping experience.
Qubit provides personalization software to online retailers and brands.