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The Future Of Luxury Brands: A Conversation With Thierry Choinard

Measuring the impact of your digital channels can be a challenge. Luxury goods have their place in the eCommerce sphere and your brand needs to prepare for the challenge. High earners are becoming increasingly comfortable with making luxury purchases online. In 2018, 21% of shoppers said that they feel comfortable making luxury purchases online. Importantly, this is an increase of 2% from the previous year.

We are delighted to interview Thierry Choinard on the ChannelSight blog to learn more about himself, eCommerce and eCommerce and embracing digital strategy in a luxury goods industry.

Thierry is the Director of Marketing and eCommerce at Bomberg Watches. He is an expert in marketing strategy, digital and eCommerce strategies, development and execution across markets in the U.S., Europe, South America, Middle East, Russia, South East Asian and China. Certainly passionate about omnichannel customer experience development, Thierry manages full deployment across his industry. His skills include conceptual and strategic thinking, with a cost effective and result oriented approach. 

What role does content play in eCommerce strategies for luxury brands?


Content is ruling the game. All brands, including the luxury sphere, need to be aware of its impact when used correctly.

With more than one in five of the people surveyed said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer in their marketing. This represents a potential untapped opportunity of €966 billion out of a €2.5 trillion total market for sustainable goods. In an ever more conscious climate, luxury brands will no longer be able to rely on rarity and inaccessibility to make sales. You need to sell a minimum of $218 million to be in the top 100 list of luxury brands. That is to say that this is no easy task. With $247 billion aggregate luxury good sales yearly, consumers show interest in the ethics behind each piece. We are now living in a hyper connected world and luxury brands will have to go further than branding. What will be most important will be its ability to share its values, quality and creativity. 

Luxury good brands need to demonstrate transparency in their production line creates honest content that justifies the price and the art of making these products. The goal is to attract the target audience through the story of each individual piece. Luxury brands need to tell their stories on a daily basis through a variety of platforms. Now is the time to interact with audiences with a behind the scenes view of creation. That is the content of the future for luxury brands.

Why is personalisation important for luxury brands?


Until about the 2008 crisis, luxury shoppers were often motivated by the idea of making a social statement by being able to tangible showcase their wealth and achievements. 

Today is very different. Shoppers are looking for an individualistic and intimate shopping experience. They are motivated by individuality and the necessity to express their own personality. This means that for luxury brands nothing should be taken for granted anymore. Luxury consumers are no longer brand victims and brands are no longer dictating trends. The roles have interestingly reversed accordingly. 

Personalisation is game changing. It allows a consumer to express themselves with their own set of values in a way that is more flexible than ever before. Personalisation makes room for products that are bespoke.

It’s important not to take anything for granted anymore. Brands are no longer the ones dictating trends, instead now brands have to anticipate the needs of customers before they know what they want themselves. Unsurprisingly, nearly 50% of consumers say they’ll spend more money with a brand that’ll personalise their eCommerce experience.

In other words, the meaning of luxury has evolved and brands need to experience a shift in their paradigms in order to survive and grow. Their strategy must go far beyond their historical heritage and legitimacy, their experience and awareness. 

Going back to your previous question on content, brands have to tell true stories that feel as authentic as they are strong. These stories need to nurture a create and innovative personable landscape that helps enable a truly digital approach. Ultimately, eCommerce personalisation leads to better relationships with customers, enhancing your customers lifetime value.

How does an omnichannel experience reveal an essence of true luxury?


An exceptional brand experience is the ultimate luxury. That’s where an omnichannel experience comes in, furthermore, I expect it to stay and expand. 

Of course, the buying experience has to be smooth and as close to perfect as possible. From the first contact to the more recent contact, the buyer has a name, a taste, preferences and habits which should be considered closely in the relationship. The buyer is no longer anonymous. In fact, the purchase is more like a life experience rather than merely a transaction. 

Compared to mass market brands, most luxury brands are behind in delivering a true omnichannel experience. Instead, they should be paving the way for never seen before customer experiences and innovations. 

Mass market brands are doing their homework by delivering what is now recognized as being the basics of a good omnichannel experience:

  • An extensive product search experience, including online purchase channels, real-time product availability, online product experience, online customization.
  • A positive purchase experience, incorporating multiple devices, payments, wishlist, gifting and packaging options. 
  • Different delivery options, ranging from click and collect, free delivery and of course fast delivery.
  • Exceptional customer care that offers free returns and refunds, integrated post purchase support, customer chat, free repairs, and customer monitoring.

Avant garde omnichannel is the new luxury that will transcend all the codes in a true luxury experience, far beyond the product, the price, the place and the promotion.

What about brand experience in the luxury sphere?


A true brand experience is the ultimately luxury. Omnichannel plays a crucial role in extending those feelings of luxury from a brick and mortar store into the digital landscape. I’m very confident in saying that omnichannel is here to stay. 

From first contact to conversion, the buying experience has to be frictionless. In the luxury sphere the buyer should feel like a valued customer, as a part of the brand. The purchasing experience should be a life experience, with exemplary customer service from beginning to end no matter what the platform. 

Offering customers an omnichannel experience allows luxury brands to be thought leaders, to pave the way for never seen before customer service experiences. In this case, luxury brands can learn something from the mass market sphere. 

Mass market brands are doing their homework and delivering a great product experience, online purchasing channels, real time product availability and online customization. Furthermore, they can be accessed on a variety of devices and have a wide range of pickup and shipping options. 

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. Mass market brands are offering some omnichannel experience, at the same time luxury brands are behind. The ones that are utilising the digital sphere are not innovating beyond traditional brands. In the future sphere of omnichannel experiences, online and offline will become one of the same as barriers are removed between the two.  You’ll need to translate unique brand elements to online and social platforms to see favourable results and show buyers an experience beyond the product, the price and the place. 

Finally, what would say are some of the key opportunities for growth in luxury?


Luxury gifting is a huge opportunity for growth.
Nearly one luxury purchase out of three is a gift. Gifting is about emotions, not about the value of the object or conversion. It’s even more true when it comes to luxury gifting. Luxury gifting is strategic because it’s  intimately linked with luxury , but also a tactical angle to attract new customers and increase awareness. Gifting in Luxury is relevant all year-long and does not rely on calendar milestones.  Luxury is relevant throughout all the seasons of shoppability.

Moreover, the important aspect of every sale in the luxury sphere is to ensure that the consumers feel special throughout the process. In regards to gift giving, both parties should be able to impart that feeling with the gift. It brings all the aspects that we discussed today full circle. The story draws the consumer in, personalisation offers something unique that no one else can give, an omnichannel experience gives even greater options and this all leads to conversions and sales in all spheres of eCommerce.

Take a look at your business strategy and find suitable solutions to keep gifting intent high throughout the year. For instance this may mean providing a good exchange or return policy for your luxury goods, or better customisable options for customers looking for something special. 

Four Key Takeaways

  • We’ve said it before, and we will say it again: content is king. Tell your brand’s story with transparency and authenticity to a primary memorable experience and engagement that lasts.
  • Personalisation is already the big thing in eCommerce. For instance, millennials and Generation Alpha are already taking personalisation for granted and they will not support a brand that doesn’t offer it. Meanwhile, mass market brands have been offering this for the last ten years already. This should be standard for all luxury brands.   
  • An ultimate omnichannel experience is what will be true luxury. 
  • Gifting and Luxury have always been intimately linked. Gifting luxury is a big opportunity for brands to provide a never seen before digital experience.

Finally, want to learn more about measuring the digital impact of luxury items? Download our on demand webinar to gain insights into the future of luxury goods and eCommerce.

Don’t delay! Watch it now.

Angela BruniThe Future Of Luxury Brands: A Conversation With Thierry Choinard

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