We live in an exciting time where technology is advancing at an exponential rate. There are constantly new developments happening in the technological world, and every industry has been changed and improved by it. No matter the size of your business, technology has both tangible and intangible benefits that can help you increase your revenue and produce the results your customers demand.
Luxury retail, in particular, is a cutthroat industry, and success depends on how well your firm does against the competition. To stay ahead of the game, luxury players such as Burberry, Gucci, Balenciaga, and many others, are pushing the limits of innovation with leading technologies that reduce costs, improve efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and more. There are many ways to leverage the latest technological advances to truly set yourself apart and grow. Safe to say, you can count on these high-end brands for inspiration.
Next-Level Shopping Experience
We as a species are always in a rush for the next big thing - especially in retail. So brands have to keep outshining the competition in order to drive growth. Elevating the retail experience and reimagining the journey the customer goes on when encountering your brand is the way to do that.
In 2020, luxury brand Burberry announced the launch of the first social retail store in Shenzhen, China, powered by Tencent technology. Burberry collaborated with Tencent to build a WeChat mini-app that customers can use in the store. Through it, shoppers can unlock discounts and new avatars, scan QR codes of outfits to get details, book automated trial rooms, win rewards and enjoy an experience designed exclusively for them. By blending the physical and social worlds in a digitally immersive retail experience, Burberry innovated a shopping experience of tomorrow for today. Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti stated, "Together with Tencent, we have pioneered a new concept that will redefine expectation of luxury retail."
Photo credit: Burberry
Increase Profit Margins and Accelerate Time to Market
We all know the old phrase "Time is money," but stop for a sec to think about what it means. It means you and every other worker should pick up the pace and work faster. Because when you waste time, you cost the company money. However, that phrase can be partly true and, naturally, partially false. Because when people rush, they're more likely to make mistakes, which can cost the business dearly. But when technology and automation are at your disposal, this statement holds true.
The world-renowned Tiffany & Co. is cutting costs and increasing its profit margins by leveraging Sarine's in-house automated AI-based 4Cs grading technology. This groundbreaking technology grades Tiffany's diamonds in a fraction of the time it'd take a traditional grader with unprecedented levels of accuracy and consistency. In addition, beyond the actual expedited grading process, Tiffany & Co save considerable time and money by eliminating the need to send their diamonds to a third-party grading lab. Now that's technology in its glory.
The Sustainability Awakening
Sustainability has reached a tipping point. As consumers increasingly embrace social causes, they seek products and brands that align with their values - nearly eight in 10 respondents indicate sustainability is important for them.
French High Jewellery Maison Boucheron has recently announced the launch of its new bridal jewelry line, for which it has adopted Sarine's cutting-edge traceability solution, Diamond Journey™, to provide its customers with a co-branded report that includes comprehensive information tracking the diamond from its natural rough form through its transformation into the final jewel. Documenting its mining, processing, and grading by Boucheron's meticulously selected supply chain eco-system, with actual visual presentations in 3D. This innovative solution, which covers the entire supply chain, relies exclusively on verifiable data generated by state-of-the-art systems. This significantly reduces the risk of subjectivity or error and increases consumer confidence. The report is available only in digital format, further reflecting Boucheron's ongoing commitment to a sustainable jewelry industry.
Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, CEO of Boucheron, stated, "Our vision is to lead the jewelry market in its effort to a more sustainable world. This can be achieved only through reliable, secure data and transparency, to which we are committed. Finally, providing our customers with a digital representation of the diamond containing all the information about its parameters and history, in our brand language, is an important step for us and will be essential in a world where both physical and digital exist."
In today's increasingly competitive marketplace, delivering personalized customer experiences is no longer a "nice to have" — it's an expectation. Personalization means using audience and data analytics to meet the individual needs of a consumer. Data is essentially the key to knowing them intimately enough to then begin trying to predict and meet their needs at any touchpoint to ultimately build long-term engagement. In fact, the Economist recently identified big data as one of the world's most valuable assets a company can maintain. Providing exclusivity with a delightful experience through data analytics has become a powerful competitive advantage.
In 2019 The Prada Group announced that it would adopt Adobe's advanced customer experience management solutions and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solution. By leveraging these technologies, Prada can support its marketing and multi-channel communications with consumers and deliver a more personalized experience to customers. By analyzing the consumer data generated across all of its online properties, Prada is able to gain deeper and richer customer insights and deliver high-quality content faster. Lorenzo Bertelli, Head of Marketing and Communication at Prada Group, commented: "It's now crucial to dominate Big Data. We will reach the goal to improve relations with our consumers and offer solutions that are increasingly personalized and in line with their needs."
Another luxury brand that has been investing in personalization is Guess, which has partnered with Alibaba to launch an AI-enabled store in Hong Kong where the technology will improve and further personalize the shopping experience. In this future-forward store, shoppers can check in via personal QR codes or facial recognition. Their shop also features 'smart mirrors' that offer consultations that consider the customer's previous purchases and style preferences. Talk about the ultimate shopping BFF!
Photo credit: Current Daily
Marketing on Point
Today, brands no longer rely solely on hypotheses and past experience to create successful marketing strategies. Instead, AI, analytics, and big data play a crucial role in determining the optimal brand strategies to target relevant potential customers.
Prada, for example, uses sophisticated artificial intelligence solutions to enhance the customer's journey online and gain insights into buying behavior. The Italian luxury brand has adopted Adobe Experience Cloud solutions to support its marketing efforts and deliver a more rewarding and perfectly tailored experience to its shoppers to increase its sales.
Enhanced Digital Presence
Millennials and Generation Z consumers drive 85% of the global luxury sales growth. These younger affluent shoppers have different expectations for retailing and are driving a digital-first future of customer experience. They expect the purchase journey to cover all the channels and devices where they spend their time, and they expect it to be just as great as the brick-and-mortar experience.
According to a Gartner report, the typical gamer spends approximately seven hours a week gaming. Luxury fashion houses such as Gucci and Balenciaga recognize that and use this extraordinary engagement to their benefit.
From collaborating with gaming platforms to sell virtual fashion, to launching a game that allows customers to design their own shoes and own them virtually—Gucci is making the most of the shoppers' increasing online presence. Gucci even ventured into the metaverse recently by setting up the Gucci Villa on Zepeto. Gucci's Executive Vice-President of brand and customer engagement, Robert Triefus, feels that gaming and fashion blend perfectly as "games today have a strong correlation with the idea of expressing yourself." Gucci is even stepping up its game with a new collection curated specifically for gamers. Virtual fashionistas can dress their characters in everything from activewear sets for a tennis match to runway dresses for a fashion-themed game by using the brand's app.
Photo credit: Vogue Business
As society progresses and technology advances, trailblazing technologies empower luxury companies in many exciting ways, allowing them to push the limits of innovation, cut costs, boost revenues, and future-proof their brand.
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