Luxury carries a creative heritage, an ancestral history and traditional know-how, while technology is associated with modernity, digitalization and innovation. Beyond the conventional belief, it is however still possible to reconcile luxury and technology. The brands in this sector are based on the exceptional and the rarity, so why not build exceptional experiences for these exceptional brands through innovation levers? If at the beginning leaders of the luxury industry seemed reluctant, today this industry is constantly evolving since it has embraced the opportunities of digital, without losing its values and its DNA. Better yet, these efforts to be at the forefront of trends make them even more desirable. Between Selectivity and Diffusion or Rarity and Expansion, how to find the right balance?
New generations, New modes of consumption
Online sales of luxury products and services are expected to represent 25% of total industry sales in 2025 according to a study by Luxury Goods Worldwide Market 2018. Digital adaptation has therefore become necessary in the wake of the emergence of new consumption patterns of the new generations. Millennials and Generation Z are the targets at the core of today's strategies because they are naturally tomorrow's consumers. 50% of all luxury consumers will be millennials by 2025 according to a study by True - Luxury Global Consumer Insight. But their expectations are very different from their elders in this consumption approach. Being an audience segment whose preferences and habits have a strong influence on society overall, it then becomes necessary for a luxury brand to adapt its tools. Another prime target is the Henrys (High Earners Not Rich Yet). These relatively young, high-income (but not ultra-rich) individuals constitute a class of consumers that is beginning to grow and will become extremely relevant in the coming years. What do they have in common? They are digital and technology enthusiasts and want to get impactful, emotional and engaging shopping experiences. The points of contact have thus expanded, from simple websites to social networks and their own features (such as filters, marketplace etc.). It is often assumed that people are the ones who pursue luxury. Whether it's mobile, tablet or computer, luxury brands need to be present on these media so that customers can find them.
Luxury experience: Experiential strategies for brands with a creative essence
Even before the pandemic outbreak, one question remained: How do you transpose the excellence of a unique in-store customer experience into a digital experience? Beyond the traditional luxury where perception or the desire to look good dominated the minds, now emotional luxury is taking the upper hand. Excellence and quality of goods are no longer enough. Customers express new needs for emotional, sensory or spiritual experiences. Emotional needs increasingly take the lead in their purchasing decision, moving from a simple "buying journey" to an "experiential journey". A luxury brand is finally defined by three adjectives: Exception, Excellence and Emotion. Hence, brands need to adopt a narrative to respond to those seeking sensations and personal experiential values. They must ensure a unique buying and consumption experience while conveying values of uniqueness and selectivity, without forgetting their cultural roots. Tradition and know-how are unique pillars for luxury brands, which can be combined with technology. Technology can thus be the missing cornerstone to finally succeed in the combination of heritage and contemporary.
Gucci is one of the forerunners that has invested in the world of augmented reality through applications that are widely used by the new generation targeted. Moving from a simple try-on to an immersive experience within the universe of a product, the brand has stood out for its constant desire for experimentation and innovation. Gucci is undoubtedly one of the leading luxury brands that have successfully undergone a digital transformation. As for Remy Martin, the brand involved its consumers in an experiential and educational storytelling to explain why the brand is "rooted in the exception". This mixed reality experience, leading to the heart of its universe, thus confirmed that Remy Martin has been the only major house specializing in Fine Champagne Cognac for 70 years. For Dior, Light & Shadows created a virtual showroom for a new Dior store. The user could therefore discover a stylish environment in the colors of Dior in VR.
Today's technological challenges
To stay competitive in the vast fashion market, luxury companies must be trend-setters and cultivate a corporate image that is ahead of its time. This will strengthen their brand equity and notoriety. In this context, the growing use of AI and Big data would help luxury companies to improve their customer relationships through advanced data analysis. The data will be trend indicators that can help brands reshape their future decisions at multiple levels (from product creation to customer service) to offer more relevant and personalized services.
A long-time visionary, luxury has managed to quickly set a basic trend: personalization. It redefined the emotional relationship between the brand and the customer by making him unique and singular through an object that has become personal. This responds to an emerging trend, and one that will undoubtedly continue to grow, where the consumer, increasingly exigent, is seduced by the possibility of co-creating his look. Notably, 3D technologies are offered solutions to serve creativity, through configurators for example. They allow consumers to become familiar with the product and customize it to transform into an exceptional object, specially designed for them.
To illustrate this, Louis Vuitton offers customization of some products on its e-commerce site. Therefore, it is possible to customize both the interior and exterior of the product in several colors (and even materials) and to add their own name or initials. A great way to push the boundaries of personalization to infinity! At Light & Shadows, we have also developed a configurator. It is designed for the emblematic watch, the J12 model from Chanel available in 3 configurations.
Eager to find more information about 3D tech?
You can find all the information about the integration of 3D technologies in the marketing process by dowloading our white paper. Feel free to contact us for more specific information about how we can help luxury brands!