The consumer journey for luxury brands is a precious alchemy; a slower, more considered layer of interactions than its fast-moving mass-market counterparts.
If mainstream brands are to eke out optimum purchase, they should learn from luxury brands who are mastering brand-consumer interactions.
First, they must identify the guiding principles underpinning those interactions, and we believe a starting point can be found in this sequential order:
1. Inspiring consumers is a luxury brand’s number one objective. Luxury likes to produce inspiring visual content in order to initially engage consumers through displaying an aspirational lifestyle. We often work with influencers to achieve this, such as when The Watch Gallery & Jaeger Le-Coultre worked with @fashitect Toni Tran who perched the Grande Reverso Day & Night timepiece off a crane over the skyscrapers of Bangkok.
2. Brands must not only inspire consumers, but encourage people to imagine for themselves; after all, imagination is what happens when inspiration takes root in the mind. Brands can deliver this by creating new ways for customers to interact and use their products. Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, the first ever beauty brand to do dynamic outdoor advertising with their #GlowMo campaign, enabled women to imagine and achieve a ‘glow moment’, whatever the situation.
3. Experiences are second nature to luxury, and mainstream needs to catch-up. Allie Stanislas from James Purdey & Sons recently commented that: “experience is about understanding the craftsmanship that has gone into that product.” Such experiences talk to the bespoke and niche nature of luxury goods, but mainstream should be similarly trading on emotion. Luxury fashion and watch brands have been creating their own museums, where consumers can be part of a collective community experience, such as La Fondation Louis Vuitton, Audemars Piguet’s The Maison des Fondateurs, and Fondazione Prada.
4. Deprivation is key to ensuring engaged consumer fantasises about that pair of Manolo Blahnik’s or Givenchy handbag and how it would transform their life, if only they possessed it. To do this, luxury remains steadfast and unbending; no sales, no messaging bombardment, no irrelevant targeting. The scarcity of a McLaren automotive similarly ramps up excitement by releasing only a handful of cars at a time, depriving thousands of applicants in the process. We always want what we can’t have.
5. High-end guides its audience into justifying purchases. Luxury always assists a potential customer in evaluating the reason for a purchase by speaking of craftsmanship, heritage and design. Luxury motivations are emotional, whereas more mainstream brands must speak of functional aspects such as technology, value, and necessity; all undisputable benefits that can steal potential customers from competitors.
6. Service in the luxury sector is unparalleled, giving customers the feeling that they’re being given undivided attention. Net-a-porter demonstrated that online delivery could travel into the luxury world, and it worked. Luxury is continuing to innovate in the service area; The Watch Gallery has seen a 10% uplift in sales since investing in an online chat service manned by experts, not robots.
7. Show your customers they aren’t just another transaction. Luxury flower delivery company FLOWERBX does this by hiring models to deliver their flowers – a fun and unique way to transact a purchase (perhaps unsurprising, as the co-founder/CEO is ex-Tom Ford). By seeing the point of purchase as being beyond the till, brands can uncover huge opportunities to build brand affinity and loyalty.
8. Brand advocacy is the most sustainable way to grow your business, and this marketing Holy Grail starts internally with your staff. If they share a love for your brand, the full retail experience will bring your consumers into inhabiting the brand too, developing the same intense emotion towards the brand as those seeking to sell it. Once they love everything the brand stands for, they will spread this love to peers via social media and word of mouth.
9. Gaining transcendence is the last and ultimate layer of creating elevated and exciting purchase points. Having a reverential and recognisable status is a sure sign that you have entered the public-consciousness. The potential Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration depicts two masters of branding coming together to recognise one another. The main benefit to this, besides fame, is accessing new audiences that may never have considered your brand before. A transcendent brand message is the final achievement on the point of purchase totem pole.
Luxury creates sophisticated consumer journeys because it understands that the crux of touchpoints is getting your audience to take relevant actions at relevant moments. These brands understand that any transaction must be part of a multifaceted choreography of interactions between brand and consumer, with longevity at its core.
Thinking like a luxury brand but executing within the resource of your business will guarantee that you create not only an inspiring array of touch points for your consumer to discover you, but a path of purchase that is enjoyable and sustainable. For brands looking to learn from luxury; this must be the end game.