Mobile – Luxury Memo special report
Mobile is currently one of the most dominant forces of technology, having a massive impact on how the luxury business markets and sells its products.
Since the rise of the smartphone around a decade ago, mobile has quickly surpassed all other digital channels, making it the primary method through which most people interact with the world. Along the way, mobile has disrupted and reinvigorated almost every
industry, and luxury is no different.
“Luxury brands typically focused on long-form messaging when it comes to branding,” said Jim Fosina, CEO of Fosina Marketing Group, Danbury, CT . “Mobile is short form – focused on high-impact communication platforms. “In this case, luxury brands truly need to make a picture worth 1,000 words of copy,” he said. “There is a very short consideration set period of time for the consumer. Either make your impact quickly or the consumer scrolls onto the next message or photo.”
The primary effect that mobile has had on luxury, along with most other industries, is that it connects every consumer to the digital world at all times.
Before mobile, digital ads were expected to only be seen at home, on a desktop computer. Because of that, most ads and tools were designed with the idea that they would inspire customers to leave their homes and go out to shop. Few of these ads were interactive in any significant way and they did not take into account location, context and relevance or any other feature.
But with the rise of mobile technology, consumers now have access to the Internet and, by extension, digital ads, at any moment in time. This has cracked open a wide new world of potentials for digital advertisers who now have more access to customers and insight into their habits than ever before.
Customers now use mobile constantly and the touch points between customers and brands are more numerous than ever. For example, a customer might see a post from a luxury brand on social media, then save that post to an interest board application for later, then go the brand’s mobile site or app to check prices, before finally visiting the store and using her mobile device to either guide her to the product she is seeking or compare it to other similar products in the store before she buys.
This complicated new shopping process provides limitless opportunities for brands and retailers to reach customers, smooth out the process and direct them towards the products that they desire.
For luxury brands catering to customers who are used to a premium experience, one of the biggest challenges of mobile is determining how to make the small screen of a mobile device feel luxurious.
Luxury distinguishes itself from non-luxury brands through the high-quality of the products and services it provides. When customers buy a shirt from a luxury brand, they are not just buying any shirt, but a shirt that is of the highest quality and crafted with the utmost care.
Similarly, the shopping experience should feel personal and high-quality. This is why luxury brands put so much effort into the atmosphere of their stores and why customer service is so paramount to their business model. But in the world of mobile, how do brands and retailers make their luxury apps or mobile sites stand out from non-luxury ones?
This is one of the most difficult problems to navigate, as the relatively restricted format of mobile provides fewer opportunities for luxury brands to distinguish themselves from the competition.
“Often, luxury brands are investing in mobile for one-off campaigns with the intention of attracting press rather than focusing on user experience and really giving their consumers something that will really help their brand resonate for long periods of time,” said Melody Adhami, president and chief operating officer of Plastic Mobile, a Havas company. “It is extremely important to choose the right mobile medium for your projects.
“A mobile app built around a specific seasonal line cannot be justified if a user is only expected to open it once, especially when a similar solution built as a mobile Web experience would suffice,” she said. Negotiating a proper digital experience on mobile for luxury brands is especially fraught, as they run the risk of diluting the image of their brand with lackluster digital programs. This can translate to a loss of prestigious customers who feel reduced to having to interact with subpar digital tools.
“Digital and, by extension, mobile, is really an accelerator for the in-store luxury experience – but the digital and store conversation must be connected,” said Chris Paradysz, CEO of PMX Agency, New York.
“Luxury brands’ ability to shift to digital is perhaps more stifled than other industries, because there is a challenge to not lose what’s special about the experience, and to not water down the brand or product perception,” he said. “If you consider different formats, a luxury brand in a more transactional type of format will tend to wash out what’s special.”