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Opulence Goes Digital

Digital innovation and the emphasis on consumers have led to merging of fashion, technology and luxury to provide a seamless experience.

Luxury as a segment has been a reluctant acceptor of the digital medium in general. Its touch-me -not and dominant, almost dictatorial attitude, which borders on 'you-accept-what-we-design', has always been wary of being seen as for the 'masses'. Many iconic brands have feared the vulnerability, openness, high visibility and easy accessibility that the digital world is all about. But things have started changing over the last two or three years, and we are now witnessing a trend wherein top luxury brands are engaging with consumers online like never before.

ag-opulence

Abhay Gupta

Founder, CEO

Luxury Connect and Luxury Connect Business School

Brands go hi-tech

Modern shoppers worldwide view the world in a way that retailers do not completely identify with yet. This is now inspiring luxury brands to engage customers through richer digital interaction and storytelling. Burberry has been a first mover in using digital technology to increase brand awareness. They have been the first to stream their shows in 3D and have also made outfits and accessories featured in fashion shows available to order online during or immediately after the show. This is futuristic. More recently, Burberry created an innovative and technologically advanced space on Regent Street, London, where the digital and physical worlds merge for shoppers, presenting a unique experience. Here, the store employs a technology called radio-frequency ID which engages customers to try clothes in front of a mirror that doubles as a visual display. Sales executives use iPads to virtually personalise the trench coats for customers and to immediately order out-of-stock inventory.

Similarly, merging social media with the physical store, German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has also equipped his concept stores in London and Amsterdam with 'selfie-ready' iPads in fitting rooms. Users can apply 'Karl-inspired' photo filters before sharing the post via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms.

Digital platforms like 'Mercedes-Me' wouldn't have been possible a few years ago. As a seamless integration between the vehicle and the company, it gives people a chance to have automated appointments, personal financing, co-create innovative ideas and have access to maintenance data. For example, it tracks the usage and wear of brake pads and lets the firm know before the customer does that the car needs servicing.

Sites that hardsell luxury

According to new research, two-thirds of India's web users access social media daily and spend more time on it than on emails. This, coupled with India's soaring love for luxury goods, rise in high net worth individuals and the influence of globalisation, is leading to exponential boost in online luxury platforms.

Also, according to an AC Nielsen report, almost 67 per cent of Indians in metros and Tier 1 cities check online reviews before making final purchase decisions. Key portals in the Indian luxury market catering exclusively to high-end brands such as Darveys, Genesis Luxury, Elitify, Stylebop, Exclusively and others, offer a unique platform to choose from wide collections of such brands and offer delivery at your doorstep. With luxury shopping comprising a sizeable market size in India, especially during the wedding season, Darveys has come up with the concept of wedding trousseau where a service of purchasing and packaging of luxurious gifts and wedding basics is offered to the to-be brides and grooms.

Why brands must innovate

Digital innovation and the emphasis on the customer have raised standards across the market. This is leading to a substantial change in velocity of customer preferences and product lifecycle. More than ever, brands need to differentiate their value proposition while developing the required managerial skills in order to simplify their organisation systems while the digital space is providing a seamless experience. When it comes to luxury, human touch is as important since luxury is also about emotion and intelligence.

The millennial mindset is the most prone to seeking validation from peer groups and is highly responsive to digital marketing drives. From posting selfies to participating in the story of the brand, it is the next communication platform. Sharing inside glimpses will entice future consumers while promoting allegiance among existing consumers.

In short, the divide between luxury and the digital space is all set to blur. From digital dilemma to digital dominance, change is on its way. Issues such as malware, privacy, personalised service, attention to individual customised needs, safe and secure transactions-all of which acted as digital roadblocks-are being addressed systematically. The merging of fashion, technology and luxury has begun to take place with the launch of an Apple watch with Hermes leather strap and driverless Mercedes Benz cars.

Fusion is the new digi-luxe mantra.

Read Full article at :

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/opulence-goes-digital/1/498949.html

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