19 February 2024 812 words, 4 min. read

Luxury: Beyond Products, the InRealLife experience

By Pierre-Nicolas Schwab PhD in marketing, director of IntoTheMinds
This article analyzes the experiential trend in the luxury sector with a series of concrete marketing actions.

Luxury is no longer synonymous with possession. Today’s customers are also looking for experiences, as Ghalia Boustani explains in a downloadable booklet at the end of this article. In this article, I illustrate some of the marketing dimensions Ghalia highlights.

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7 concrete actions for luxury brands

  1. Create Immersive In-Store Experiences:Design sales areas offering immersive sensory experiences. They will engage the senses and transcend products.
  1. Organize Exclusive Events and VIP Experiences: Plan private events, exclusive launches, and VIP experiences to build customer loyalty and create a sense of exclusivity.
  1. Cultivate a Lifestyle Brand Image: extend the brand beyond products by presenting values through content, cultural events, or collaborations that resonate with the target audience.
  1. Engage in Social Responsibility Initiatives: Demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility through philanthropic efforts or sustainable practices. This strategy helps reassure certain customers.
  1. Offer Personalized Services: Improve customer service with personalized offerings such as tailored services or customized products. Tailor experiences to individual preferences.
  1. Implement Experiential Marketing:Focus on experiential marketing strategies such as immersive brand activations or cultural initiatives inviting customers to engage more deeply with the brand.
  1. Capitalize on Limited Edition collaborations: collaborate with renowned designers, artists, or influencers to create limited edition collections or experiences. See the example of Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama or this exercise on Vuitton’s fictitious collaborations.

Experiences are stronger

Physical objects have historically defined luxury and have only “recently” entered the sphere of services. This definition is changing, and now even traditional brands are moving into the realm of the intangible.

Consumers are looking beyond objects to experience unique, unforgettable moments. They are looking for emotions that they will associate, consciously or unconsciously, with the brand that provides them.

Balenciaga’s pop-up store in London, whose walls were covered in pink fabric, is a good example of this. It was an immersive, sensory experience that, by stimulating the senses, was bound to leave a lasting impression on visitors and fans of the brand.

The power of customized services

Personalization is now an integral part of the DNA of luxury. This is particularly true when it comes to service. Some customers enjoy such personalized service that some stores even have private reception areas. For example, the Louis Vuitton store at Dubai Mall (Dubai, UAE) has a secluded area containing the entire range, only accessible by invitation.

Transforming retail spaces into social hubs

The third way of looking at the evolution of the luxury sector concerns its social aspects. Far from mere points of sale, stores are being transformed into “social hubs” where brand fans … and others … meet. Sales areas become meeting places, combining shopping, art, and entertainment. For example, YSL’s Rive Droite café offers a unique experience beyond the sales outlet.

Another example is Louis Vuitton, whose next flagship store, at 103 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, will incorporate a hotel, spa, restaurants, and bars, in addition to a sales area 5 times larger than the current flagship. Spaces are converging, and experiences are blending. From now on, buying a Louis Vuitton product will no longer be necessary to enter the brand’s universe. Other entry points will be proposed, enriching (and complicating) the customer experience.

Merging Virtual and Real Experiences

I discussed reconciling online and offline data as a major trend a few years ago. Today, more generally, the physical world is increasingly incorporating digital touchpoints. They are there to enrich the customer experience.

Augmented reality and virtual reality are increasingly used. Virtual reality makes adding a new dimension to the physical space easy. Gucci, for example, proposes virtual shoe trials.

Developing customer loyalty, if possible, across generations

Modern luxury is also about creating lengthy relationships beyond simple CRM strategies. Once again, the emotional aspect plays a key role. By offering specific experiences, luxury brands lay the foundations for deep loyalty, sometimes passed down from generation to generation.

The HermèsMatic is an example of a marketing operation for owners of the iconic Hermès scarves. The operation is a kind of gamification for scarf owners.

Conclusion

The face of the luxury industry has changed profoundly in recent years. There’s been a real change in basic assumptions. We’ve gone from a cult of possession to one of experience. Owning a luxury item used to be a criterion of social distinction. Today’s customers are open to new value propositions where the tangible object is no longer at the center. The luxury sector now also creates value through experiences. These must be memorable, unique, personalized, and part of the customer experience. This is the case, for example, with luxury brand extensions into related fields: hotels, bars, restaurants, patisseries, etc. Luxury brands are increasingly branching out to attract more and more customers who are not necessarily motivated solely by possession.

How can Luxury Brands enhance their luxury in real life experiences

 



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