Updated: Jan 21

A recent trip to the Luxury Innovation Awards in Geneva further cemented the need for luxury brands to be actively implementing digitally-forward marketing strategies. Luxury shoppers are looking for innovative ways to explore and discover products whilst shopping; listen up, brands!

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The new generation of digital natives

According to the Business of Fashion, Millennials & Gen Z are expected to account for 45% of total luxury goods sales by 2025, and will represent a 130% growth opportunity. These younger consumers have brought new requirements to the luxury market, forcing brands to adapt their traditional luxury values to cater to evolving expectations. Brands are having to rethink every aspect of their approach to luxury; from Gucci’s pricing strategy with their £170 iPhone cases, to Chanel Beauty offering exclusive live shopping events, to Balmain’s new collaboration with Netflix where consumers can buy directly from a tv show as they watch.

Younger consumers have different expectations of brands; though the in-store retail experience will always be important, digitally-led experiences are becoming more and more crucial to the success of luxury labels. They are not afraid of new technologies, but in fact they crave them, they want the newest and best shopping experiences- which is further solidified by the pandemic and inability to go in store and have the luxury treatment.

The rise of social media over the past decade and the omnipresence of digital experiences at the tip of our fingers has meant that millennials and Gen-Z not only want these experiences, but expect them, making them ‘digital natives’. If brands want to capitalise on the most lucrative generations, they must evolve their strategies to include some form of interactive digitalisation both in store and online.

The ultimate digital experience; live shopping

The pressure is on for brands to be offering their consumers the best digital experience possible, meaning that their e-commerce sites have become an extremely crucial part of the ecosystem. There are a number of ways that brands can evolve their offering and picking the right strategy that balances brand image, innovation and ever-changing customer needs is key to building and sustaining success.

Live shopping is fast becoming one of the most sought after forms of digital commerce; it offers customers the next best thing to going in store and trying products on. Brands are able to bring their high priced items to life like never before, by integrating styling advice, designer storytelling, influencers or even store personnel. Brands can get as creative or experimental as they want, all they need is an iPhone, a host, and shoppable tech (like Smartzer) to allow customers to add to cart from within the live stream.

Luxury shoppers are 3x more likely to want live streaming shopping opportunities, Instagram lives aren’t cutting it anymore. They want to be able to shop from within the live stream without having to a) leave the stream b) have to search for each item individually on the website. Live shopping allows customers to shop seamlessly without interruption, but also provides a source of entertainment and community building. More recently, luxury brands have been hosting exclusive invite-only live shopping events for VIP customers to further enhance the personal experience online.

Embracing the new vs honouring tradition

Some brands have been cautious about venturing into e-commerce because they fear it doesn't fit consumer expectations for a high-end shopping experience, and the same goes for shoppable formats. However the shifts in consumer behaviour, from every demographic not just younger shoppers, shows that digital experiences and entertainment are not just successful, but they are in demand. It is key to point out that with the correct tech solutions, brands can completely customise the shopping experience to suit their image and also needs of their customers.

The live shopping experience does not have to emulate the chaotic energy that became popular in the East, and it also doesn’t have to be overly commercial or polished, it can be whatever the brand wants it to be. Brands can also test and trial different formats to see what works best, it is not a one size fits all strategy and they need to commit to it- rather than doing one-offs which will never gain traction and adoption, it's a process that needs to be invested in.

A number of brands fear that by implementing modern technology into their purchase funnel that they will lose sight of the heritage and tradition that made them globally renowned labels, however live shopping is a fantastic way of storytelling and injecting a human feel into a brand. Designers can be invited to talk through the inspiration behind a collection, jewellers can discuss how exactly a piece was made, founders can talk about pressing matters such as sustainability. Shoppable formats bring brands closer to their customers, which is crucial to connecting with existing customers and unlocking future generations.

If you would like to learn more about Smartzer, book in a demo here!