Gone are the days of relying on elite, seasonal runway shows and elegant, upscale department stores to sell exclusive, high-end fashion brands. These days, tech-savvy millennial consumers of luxury products are looking for personalized, interactive, direct-to-customer shopping experiences — and they expect to find it all on tiny, mobile screens.
It’s no surprise that some luxury brands have struggled to translate lavish, in-store shopping encounters involving all five senses into two-dimensional, e-commerce platforms. Fortunately, e-commerce tools are rapidly evolving to help carry that much-desired, larger-than-life runway glamour over to the smallest of digital devices — where customers are increasingly making their purchasing decisions.
Here are some tips for success:
Offer a luxury experience. Just as high-end retail stores exude opulence by being clean, well laid-out, and uncluttered, your e-commerce site should appear similarly luxurious. To do so, the site needs to display high-quality images that allow customers to see, touch and feel (virtually) your products, as well as contain content that appeals to the emotions historically triggered by the brand. It also needs to display plenty of white space, be simple to navigate, load quickly, and provide easy-to-find sizing information.
Luxury product consumers expect individualized, specialized sales treatment and this expectation does not change when they shop online. Be sure that your site offers easy access to customer service representatives on every page — via live chat, phone and e-mail. Provide free, expedited shipping, gift wrapping services, and other perks to loyal customers. A luxury experience involves the feeling of getting something exclusive beyond what is offered to the general public.
Use personalization tools. In an industry steeped in heritage, tradition, and exclusivity, you might be surprised to learn that artificial intelligence (AI) has a central place in modern-day fashion. AI-powered personalization tools can be a powerful method to collect online data about customers’ shopping habits and use it to recommend relevant products to create a more satisfying shopping experience. Directing customers to tailored product suggestions with prompts of “You may also like” or “Recommended for you” can help speed up (and up-sell) the entire shopping process.
Integrate augmented reality. Stunning, high-quality images that display multiple product angles and offer a zoom feature are an excellent start to any e-commerce site, but to really up the ante, explore ways to incorporate augmented reality (AR) into the shopping experience. When possible, allow customers try on virtual products with an online avatar or with photos of themselves.
Strengthen communication. While you should absolutely make your brand presence known on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, it is also important to find ways to cross-market between all sales channels. This multi-channel approach will keep your customers more consistently engaged and interactive with your brand.
Get creative by: embedding user-generated social media videos into your website to show how much customers love your brand; live-streaming behind-the-scenes videos from your office or production facility; posting shop-able Instagram posts; using AI features on smartphones to enhance retail shopping excursions, and generally encouraging online communities to rave about your products. All of these channels give you (and your customers) the opportunity to tell the compelling stories behind your brand.
Benchmark brands that have made the leap. One successful example is Branded Online’s client Halston — an iconic fashion powerhouse that recently launched a contemporary diffusion line, Halston Heritage. Halston’s approachable digital strategy supports its ready-to-wear brand with direct customer communication on a highly shop-able flagship e-commerce site, through expanded retail locations, on various social media platforms, and with multi-channel marketing techniques. In other words — anyone, anywhere, can now discover the Halston brand and purchase their products.
Reach out to emerging global markets. The world is at your fingertips — and, reciprocally, your brand is at the fingertips of a global customer base. Think bigger and create country-specific e-commerce storefronts that cater to local languages and appeal to various international inclinations.
Embrace change. There’s little doubt that e-commerce is having a profound impact on the fashion industry and luxury enterprises. For continued success in our digital, global economy, high-fashion brands everywhere are embracing a variety of e-commerce sales strategies to share brand stories and simultaneously appeal to the senses and emotions of consumers.
With the help of rapidly developing technology, today’s e-commerce strategies can effectively capture the quality, tradition, and appeal of luxury products. Learn more about how Branded Online technology can fuel best-in-class e-commerce services and solutions for your brand.