The Biggest 3 Trends of 2019 in Luxury
The luxury fashion industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift. Traditionally operating with an offline business model, luxury brands have always been reliant on loyal consumers and their appreciation of an intimate in-store experience. However, this is beginning to change. According to The Current Daily (2018), consumers now demand accessibility, speed and an increased level of personalisation – all of which can only be achieved through digital innovation.
Verb have identified four key disruptive trends which promise to affect how any brand operates as a business in the coming years. They all point one thing, adaptation is not a choice, but compulsory to all.
1. Artificial Intelligence and Personalisation
There has been a marked rise in the number of AI systems implemented in the past few years, specifically in the luxury industry. This is largely due to the fact that AI can help brands to achieve the desired intimate experience that they seek. By storing a sizeable amount of personal data, 2.5 quintillion bytes every day (Vilon and Lacombe, 2018), AI enables companies to find a correlation between pretty much anything. It is from this that they can provide the most personalised service for customers.
It is this data-powered use of technology that has enabled Dior Beauty to really impress its customers, using chatbots to provide unique makeup tips that give them a highly personalised service within the digital environment. Although it should be noted that chatbots are just one way in which AI can be implemented; Alibaba has incorporated algorithms that continuously recognise the behaviours and purchasing desires of its users. From this, the retail giant is now able to provide them with personalised recommendations.
According to IBM, 91% of marketers at competitive brands believe that AI is essential to the future of their organisations (IBM via Adage, 2018). One thing is clear – AI is here to stay.
2. Media Reinvented
In recent years there has been a monumental shift from traditional to online media, moving to omnichannel strategies that provide a holistic brand message throughout the customer journey. Several touch points across the real and digital world are key to reaching conversion, meaning now more than ever a seamless experience between channels is required to convert the luxury shopper.
SEO Merging With Digital PR
SEO is no longer a separate channel, but a fundamental element of a luxury brand’s overall marketing and PR strategy, playing a huge role in a brands online visibility. Successful implementation of SEO will have a positive knock on effect across other digital marketing channels, such as lower PPC cost per clicks, increased brand awareness leading to further social media follows and newsletter sign ups, lower bounce rates improved conversions on site and more impactful digital PR placements amongst others.
This is a similar impact to traditional PR strategies in printed luxury publications and media, but it’s far more targeted – this is leading to brands increasingly withdrawing significant part of their budget to be allocated to digital instead.
The Era of Social Commerce
Instagram’s emphasis on visual storytelling has attracted the world of luxury to become strong ambassadors of the social platform. A recent report released by Instagram, shows that luxury global consumers use the platform 7 days a week, versus 6 for the global average consumer (2019).
2019 has been a very exciting year in the evolution of social. In the past two years, Instagram has continued to release new features enabling brands to tag their products in organic posts. Early this year, the social platform announced a checkout feature that allows its customers to streamline the purchase funnel.
Another highly prevalent example of Social Commerce implementation is WeChat.
One of the most important features in the social platform is the ability to build what they call ‘mini-programs’. These app integrations allow brands to utilise the platform as an eCommerce site. The reason this should interest luxury brands is that it means they can take full ownership and control of their own brand. Currently Chinese third-party eCommerce retailers like JD.com and Tmall dominate in China and have control over most brand’s activity whereas WeChat enables brands to design their own campaigns, pages and visuals.
3. Sustainable business models
Sustainability is a burgeoning trend across the retail sector as a whole, but is now diffusing into the luxury industry too, becoming a priority for many consumers. Some are now expecting a clear purpose behind the brands they interact with, and demand radical operational transparency.
In 2019, consumers arguably have more power than ever before. Deloitte stated in 2014 that there was an increasing gap in expectations as businesses struggle to keep pace with more informed, more connected and more demanding consumers. Since then, leading luxury brands have truly taken on board the philosophy of ‘consumer first’, focusing on sustainability environmentally, economically and socially.
In order to achieve this, many brands have chosen to rethink their firm’s structure to turn them into circular business models. Circular business models have been around since the 40’s but they have established an increased presence in the last 10 years in fashion houses.
It seems that Burberry has changed their dialogue around this recently. The British fashion house agreed a partnership with Elvis & Kresse to tackle waste created by the leather goods industry with the aim to disrupt the current approach to leather waste. We feel this is only the start for luxury.
Commercial awareness is integral to any brands success – we’ll be keeping an eye on these trends as they develop over the coming months. If you need help with your digital presence, contact us today at [email protected].
Verb Brands is the leading luxury digital agency for fashion, hospitality and lifestyle brands. Operating as a full-service digital agency, Verb Brands drives growth, awareness and revenue to some of the world’s most discerning luxury brands. Led by founder and managing director, Chris Donnelly and Commercial Director, Ben Askins, the agency has grown to a team of over 55 across offices in London, New York, LA and Cape Town. Verb Brands’ portfolio includes some of the most renowned luxury brands worldwide including Bugatti, Jimmy Choo, Maybourne Hotel Group, Corbin & King Group, Boodles and Grosvenor to name a few.
Led by founder and CEO, Chris Donnelly and Managing Director, Ben Askins
Chris Donnelly will be taking a seat on the panel; ‘Customers Loyalty: How to Improve Retention with Personalization & Digital Experiences‘ at #DMWF North America on 11 – 12 September at the Brooklyn Expo Center.