The luxury consumer in the U.S. has changed in many ways. They are more technologically savvy, they are younger and they are from many more places than in the past. After years of struggling with this new demographic reality, luxury retailers and brands in the U.S. are employing new media and old school tactics to attract these new customers.
Luxury retailer, Neiman Marcus, recently introduced a pilot program called NM Service, a smartphone app that allows shoppers to see which sales associates are in store, message and make appointments with their favourite salespersons, keep up with store events, mark favourite products which will automatically be visible to their selected sales associates and scan Quick Response (QR) codes to view product information and trends.
The “NM Service” smartphone app from Neiman Marcus
In New York, old but creative methods are being used to attract the booming growth in wealthy Chinese tourists, including private musical performances, private store hours, employing salespersons fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese, and providing products geared to Chinese tourists. For example, luxury brand, Montblanc, sells “Year of the Dragon
” writing instruments in its New York boutique.
Even the most established old school brands are stepping up their efforts. Swiss luxury watch brand, Vacheron Constantin, recently opened its first boutique in the U.S. in New York. And it is using old-school methods to attract and retain its loyal watch clientele by injecting itself into New York City society. The brand was a major sponsor of the recent I attended a cocktail reception and dinner the company held as part of its sponsorship of a high-end art show.
Almost directly across the street from Vacheron’s boutique is the soon-to-be-open Faberge salon. Like Vacheron, the brand is associated with old world luxury. However, it is working hard to make itself accessible to a younger and broader clientele through a new advertising campaign, online and social media efforts and with the design of its boutiques.
Among the biggest change with most all luxury brands in recent years is with their use of digital media. Pam Danziger, founder of Unity Marketing, an affluent consumer and luxury market research firm, says that U.S. luxury jewellery brands, Tiffany and David Yurman, were among the most successful in marketing and selling online. “These are obviously the luxury brands making the most of their connection with the affluent luxury consumer,” she said.
The explosion in the use of digital media by luxury brands is so striking that it’s hard for me to believe that it was just two years that I attended the FT Business of Luxury Summit and the main topic of conversation was whether luxury brands should use digital media. Of course that question has been answered with a resounding yes.
Now these same companies are becoming masters of the medium. And this mastery is helping these brands better react to meet the needs of their customers in store.