Many luxury and fashion brands are still questioning how to bridge the ‘digital divide’. It is a very delicate path to tread for high-end brands, given what’s at stake – their exclusive brand reputation. Whilst the shift towards omnichannel is growing at a rapid pace, most revenue in the luxury brands market is still driven by offline physical channels.
The trouble for luxury brands is that a lot of what makes them luxury occurs offline, such as exclusive showrooms, personalised service and so on. However, if luxury brands don’t embrace digital they risk falling behind.
Although many high-end brands still remain cautious, more and more are adopting a digital first approach. One such brand that stands out is ‘Burberry’. With thanks to its full use of technology and partnering with the likes of Instagram and Snapchat, it allows shoppers a full shopping experience both online and offline. Burberry has become the master of storytelling and social media – evident by its 42 million followers.
In 2015, global digital sales for women’s luxury fashion made up only 3% of the total online clothing market. But, with online sales in 2018 expected to grow by 18% in the UK, 17% in the US and 70% in China, it’s time now for all high-end brands to welcome the opportunities online has to offer at influencing consumers decision to purchase.
How Is Social Media Shaking Things Up?
According to McKinnsey, 40% of all luxury goods purchase decisions are influenced by what consumers see online. The likes of Chanel, Burberry, Jean Paul Gaultier and many more have created huge social presence. So why the change of heart?
Traditionally communications from high-end luxury and fashion providers to consumers were provided through tightly controlled media channels, such as print, direct marketing etc. However, social media has opened doors for consumers in allowing them to access information and products which may have previously been unavailable. And, in many cases, consumers have been given more power to influence and contribute to a brands social engagement.
AllSaints, the British fashion retailer, created a global social campaign where customers were invited to share their personalised AllSaints identity with the unique hashtag #ItsUpToYou. The results of which were incredible. This campaign brought about 320,000 interactions and reached 17 million people, organically. During this period, 66,000 users visited the website, 48,000 of which were brand new. Furthermore the volume of website visitors surpassed all expectations and this engagement lead to over £12,000 in sales.
There’s no denying, social media is no longer an option marketing need to consider, this is a must. So now let’s take a look at the 5 ways high-end fashion and luxury brands are embracing the power of social media?
1. Translate Unique Brand Elements to Social Platforms
Brands are now considering eCommerce and social media channels as an extension of the in-store brand and values.
Louis Vuitton’s core brand values “to deliver excellence, creativity and innovation” are reflected in every post, status and engagement online. When placed on the Louis Vuitton site, you are immersed into a digital library of sorts, moving through stories about how the iconic brand came to be.
Top performers like Cartier focus on social media marketing which emphasizes quality over quantity, ensuring each post and image is carefully crafted to make maximum impact.
Carefully crafted social content ensures brands remain true to the essence of their brand but also reach a whole new generation of customers who are more accessible today, than ever before.
2. Drive Personalised Conversation at Scale
Chatbots are a hot topic right now in the world of eCommerce, and they are revolutionising the consumer experience. Fashion brands arguably have the most to gain from the rise of chatbots and some huge names have gotten on board in recent months.
Brands like Tommy Hilfiger have looked to boost their sales force by a more elastic means – enhancing their social media presence with chatbots that can talk to thousands of consumers at once.
For example, Tommy Hilfiger’s bot gave the user three options to orientate the conversation: get fashion advice, browse the full collection or take a look behind the scene of the latest fashion show. If you want to shop the look, just choose your size and the bot will add it to your cart and the conversion is done.
According to Gartner, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020. As artificial intelligence becomes more and more advanced, chatbots will become the staple in the future for customer satisfaction. Chatbots will allow brands to stand out from competitors and personalise customer experiences. They will be able to offer customers what they really want, exactly when they want it.
3. Recognise the Power of Social Selling
Social media grew from connecting friends on Facebook to uniting brands and communities across platforms. However, today social media plays a critical role in the evolution of online shopping, with 9 out of 10 consumers turning to social media for help with buying decisions and 75% buying because of something they saw online.
Over the last decade, Burberry have put a heavy focus on digital marketing. Over 60% of their marketing budget is now spent on digital media, a percentage that comfortably outdoes every other luxury fashion brand. Over the years their social channels have become the centrepiece of this digital strategy, with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram forming their main points of focus.
We are seeing an increasing trend of buying products straight from social media channels. Instagram’s buy button features, tagging products in photos, is allowing users to go straight to the retailer’s website to purchase. Similarly, many Buy Now options across other social channels are driving consumers to complete their purchase without competitive distraction or delays along the way.
4. Put the Customer Centre Stage
With the rise of ad blockers and decline in radio and TV viewership, influencer marketing is proving to be an extremely effective form of advertising. People trust people, with a claimed $6.50 return for every dollar spent, it’s not surprising that $570 million was spent on influencer Instagram campaigns alone last year.
To put the power of influencer marketing into perspective, during the first quarter of 2017, an average social media post by Kim Kardashian generated 1.2 million social media actions. Meanwhile the brand she represents, Celine, only generated a user engagement of 1,875 actions per post. However, luxury brands must focus their resources in looking for the perfect fit for their organisation.
Influencers can be the most powerful assets in a luxury brands toolkit, provided that they match the brands values. Influencers can provide engagement and help to bridge a gap between the product and the customer, with their storytelling allowing endorsements in an authentic way.
However to succeed in influencer marketing, brands need to consider three 3 things:
1. Partner with micro-influencers i.e. People who are really passionate about the products and companies history.
2. Build long term programmes, to establish trust and ensure there are no PR stints.
3. Treat influencers as partners, not just paid for placement. The luxury sector needs a true voice high lighting real value.
5. Listen and Learn
Carefully monitoring and analysing conversations about your brand allows for deeper insights into your customers. What do they like? What do they dislike? Where do they live? Why do they care about you? Also, you can identify trending topics and be alerted to unusual activity.
With the rich data insights and trends social media monitoring can offer, it has been found that luxury brands who listened and improved their online experience grew their traffic by 52% while brands that ignored their web properties saw growth at only 8%.
Want to learn more about how you can create a superior omnichannel approach for your brand? ChannelSight’s Buy Now technology is enabling brands, across the world, to drive sales by offering quick and easy options for consumers to purchase products across all social channels.
Brands that use ChannelSight have seen conversion rates of over 20 percent, repeat sales of 20 fold, and the average customer basket size increase by over 30 percent. Most of our customers receive a year one return on investment of over 10 to 1.
If you want to better understand your conversion strategy and improve your ROI, get in touch today to see how we can help you.
Digital Marketing Manager