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How personalised Luxury Marketing can get?

Recent years have seen an increasing trend towards personalization within the luxury retail sector, with retailers developing innovative new ways to identify their customer’s individual needs and desires, before building a retail experience which satisfies them. But just how personalized can luxury marketing get?

The rise of big data means that it has never been easier for luxury brands to understand who their customers are, and what they desire. Customers of luxury brands now have higher expectations than ever, and expect a personalized and bespoke service when they visit a store. A recent study by Accenture Personalization discovered that customers are quite willing to give their personal information to a brand, if it results in them receiving a personalized shopping experience.

For many years, retailers had the personal data of their customers, but had no way of utilizing this data as part of a personalized luxury marketing campaign. However, new developments in technology have allowed luxury stores to develop a seamless marketing campaign and shopping experience which is highly personalized.

For example, the rise of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets allow luxury brands to create an electronic profile for each customer, which is normally linked to their email address. Increasing numbers of luxury stores are using beacon technology such as iBeacon to increase the levels of interaction with the customer during visit to the bricks and mortar store. These beacons will send messages to customers’ mobile devices as they move around the store, informing them of in-store offers, such as automatic discounts and other product promotions. To ensure relevance, these messages can be further personalized, by using information such as the individual purchase history of a customer.

Digital signage has now evolved beyond simply replacing traditional static signs with screens. Signage of the type used at the Korloff Paris luxury boutique in the Dubai Mall, creates an interactive and highly personalized customer experience. Digital signage can be linked to a store or loyalty card, so that when customers scan their card they can see exclusive promotions, products and services which have been uniquely tailored to them. A study by Nielsen found that 74% of brands who used digital signage experienced an increase in additional sales.

Personalization doesn’t end there. The Galleria, located in Abu Dhabi, recently showcased the Virtual Style Pod; an augmented reality dressing room. The latest 3D body mapping technology means that customers can browse and try on a wide range of clothes using this virtual dressing room, and see how they will look in real-time without having to get changed. In the future, it is likely that such technology will be linked to the personal data of the individual customer, allowing the virtual dressing room to become a virtual style assistant.

The future of luxury retail will involve the continuous evolution of technology. This will allow greater consumer connectivity, and increasingly immersive luxury retail experiences. In order to succeed, luxury brands must be prepared to embrace this, and offer their customers a high-quality personalized experience.

The Rise of the Concept Store – Part 1

With using the big data,  a two way communication between retailer and customers and better understanding of customer purchasing behaviour a new wave of concept stores are appearing across the globe, creating exciting new spaces where the physical and virtual shopping experience can meet.

A concept store is a retail store with a difference. Instead of just stocking and selling products, a concept store is designed to excite customers on a much broader level. It does this by appealing to customers’ sense of the life they want to live, and how they want to be perceived. Rather than just supplying a standard selection of products, the concept store supplies carefully curated and handpicked products, which satisfy the customers’ lifestyle desires, creating the impression that the store has the same values and aspirations as them.

Because concept stores are so unique and individual in what they offer and who they target, there is no single form they typically take, but the most successful examples are stores which offer a different shopping experience and range of products or make effective use of technology to close the loop between the physical and digital shopping experience.

A concept store may also be associated with a particular celebrity, sometimes using the name of the celebrity in its advertising or the name of the store, such as   a series of pop up concept stores opened by Gwyneth Paltrow across the USA, with each of them selling items curated by Paltrow herself, and aimed at subscribers to her Goop website.

One of the world’s most successful concept stores is Story, which is based in New York City. Story is built on the ethos that retail is like all other media, in that it requires a narrative and a simple display. So, Story curates the products and merchandise, completely changing what it stocks and the look of the store every 4 to 6 weeks, just as a magazine would focus on a particular trend every issue. The store itself is more reminiscent of an art gallery, with a minimalist design and a relatively small selection of items on display. The store is usually sponsored by a brand that primarily wishes to raise its profile, rather than sell its goods.

In UAE we have successful concepts done by Challhoub Group like the Level Shoes which is the world’s finest shoe metropolis, targeting the luxury consumer through its unparalleled collection of exclusive footwear and bespoke services and Katakeet a unique luxury children’s wear concept store. Conceived around storytelling with the contribution of British children’s book illustrator Polly Dunbar, the store is developed to ensure a unique retail experience for both parents and children.

As it is clear that physical stores will not be killed off by e-commerce, the conversation is now moving beyond a simple debate about which is better; clicks-or-bricks? Increasing numbers of retailers are embracing omni-channel marketing and sales, and combining their digital and physical branding and presence. In a sign of how far things have moved, Google and Amazon are reportedly planning concept stores in New York, as the kings of e-commerce recognise the importance of physical retail spaces.

In the next blog in this series, we will explore how to develop and set up a concept shop.

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