With closures on the high street and the exponential growth of online shopping, the viability of physical retail in 2018 has never come under so much scrutiny. The shift from product-heavy showrooms to spaces, dedicated as much to experience and culture as they are to selling clothes, is nothing new in the luxury sector.
The direction of luxury retail is all about a philosophy of ‘less, but better’ explains Ana Andjelic, the chief brand officer at premium US fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff. “It’s about more flagship stores that tell the brand story and less random mall stores that are cookie cutter, so all stores have to fit into the locale seamlessly,” she explains.
Products are just one part of that overall storytelling experience, whether you have five selected products, a capsule collection or a limited drop encouraging consumers to visit the store as a means of discovery. Andjelic believes physical stores give brands the opportunity to play with the “visceral language” of sight, sound and smell.
She describes luxury experiences as ones that are convenient, fast and efficient, offering a superior form of service reflective of the Japanese principle of Omotenashi. The ultimate in high-end hospitality, this principle relies on the belief that service needs to be flexible, adaptable, effortless and anticipatory in order to recognise the customer’s needs before they even know what they are.
For this reason, focusing on the back-end systems around customer relationship management is increasingly important as the brand aims to recognise the consumer across every touchpoint in the style of a “butler, not a stalker”.
“Loyalty is created by piggy-backing on the identity of the audience and knowing their tastes, cultural affinities, aesthetics and specific identity, so you are talking to them in the language they are already using and on the topics they are already interested in,” says Andjelic, speaking to Marketing Week during the Cannes Lions Festival.
There is a trend among wealthy people towards investing in their own wellness and mindfulness, making self-actualisation the “ultimate luxury”.
The Rebecca Minkoff brand is shifting away from its eponymous founder and closer to the evolving nature of female identity, taking with it the parts of Minkoff herself that resonated most with customers. Take a thought to ponder whether your brand should be going through a similar transition. For any questions about branding, get in touch with PIXAFUSION Digital today!