To gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive marketplace, luxury brands must look beyond what has historically defined “luxury” – products made of the finest materials and priced at the top of the market, boasting superior craftsmanship and a rich heritage – to create human experiences that connect with consumers in new and innovative ways. These experiences will need to conform to the traditional features of luxury brands by creating an intense and emotional connection to the consumer: a sense of scarcity, the suggestion of apparent status and elegant artisanry. They will also need to meet consumers’ evolving expectations for luxury experiences – immersive, memorable encounters that leverage new or augmented reality to enhance everyday life and delight in ways that feel distinctive and deeply personal.
A recent Norstat study shows that 90 percent of consumers feel that luxury brands fall behind their more mainstream counterparts for online experience. Seventy-two percent believe that online experiences provided by luxury retailers is inferior to the prestige of their physical stores. Luxury brands on the vanguard of this new paradigm have found opportunities to be both exclusive and available; timeless and innovative. They transcend the physical and digital to create data-driven experiences that engage consumers’ emotive desires seamlessly across offline and online channels, while preserving a sense of elegance and scarcity synonymous with being a luxury brand. And, they have invested in premium, multi-channel content that promotes uniqueness and has a sense of insider sheen that will resonate with high-end consumers.
As we look to 2022 and beyond, expect to see more luxury brands investing in digital technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, computer vision (face, gesture and/or emotional recognition software), gaming, cryptocurrencies, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver exceptional and immersive consumer experiences that not only evoke deeper connections to the brand, but also provide a sense of exclusivity. By finding the right balance of online and offline content and experience, brands will be able to differentiate, engage new audiences and deliver impeccable customer service.