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Innovation and customer experience in luxury boutiques

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We recently carried out a qualitative analysis of luxury boutiques and analyzed the customer experiences provided in the different stores. Although the results are proprietary we were, by and large, disappointed by the experience and service quality provided by the most renewed brands. Non empathetic vendors, lack of knowledge about the products, sales-driven rather than care-driven, level of language (sometimes colloquial) not adapted to the situation … you name it.

Despite the rather disappointing overall impression we had, two stores performed above expectations and above average.

One of them is the Glashütte store recently opened on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

This rather small boutique (there is hardly space for more than two customers) provides an interactive experience to the visitor in the form of two giant plasma screens controlled by a touch pad hidden hidden in the table of the lounge are table (more details here). The salesman can use these interactive screens to show the manufacturing process or help the customer understand the history and tradition of the brand better.

Credits: Swatch group / Glashütte

Nice detail to notice … even the chocolate served with the coffee was branded. This is the first I’ve seen such a passion for detail.


My take :

Details are not insignificant and the integration of multimedia in such a store is also rather unusual. I remember a research presented at the International Marketing Trends conference in Venice this year which showed, through an ethnographic approach, that luxury boutiques are a closed environment with its own codes and rules. Brick-and-mortar points of sales have remained more or less unchanged and have re-using the same codes over and over again. For instance in most stores the products are displayed on a table where the customer sits in front of the salesperson. You’ll notice that the Glashütte boutique has also broken this rule by introducing a lounge area where the customer meets with the salesperson in a more relaxed, informal atmosphere.

Yet, multimedia should be used cautiously as too much of it may be too disruptive


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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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