The future of luxury – 5 things to expect from a changing market
It’s almost impossible to resist change and survive in the wake of external forces. Even a well-established retail sector such as luxury has to recognise and participate in the fundamental adjustments needed on both sides of the transaction process to ensure customers and store associates have confidence in its future.
So what are the practicalities involved for a market built on heritage and tradition?
1. Store associate roles will be elevated to trusted shopping companions
Luxury retailers are ahead of the game when it comes to prioritising a service culture, and they’re in a position to lead the way when it comes to redefining how store associates engage with customers. Now that technology is playing an increasing role in establishing profitable relationships with elite customers through virtual consultations and remote sales, they need to be ready to provide something more than just a standard service. That depends on equipping them with all the data and insights they need to go beyond the purely transactional to offer valuable advice and guidance to customers used to VIP treatment.
2. Customers will be comfortable with personalised services that may not be face-to-face
Readily-accessible, feature-rich and truly personal virtual consultations, coupled with curated remote sales, are allowing luxury customers to continue to enjoy exceptional service without being in store. And as long as the experience is shoppable wherever the customer chooses to engage, its popularity is set to continue as they become increasingly comfortable with its ease and accessibility.
3. Get ready for a broader audience
As luxury retailers embrace technology as an intrinsic part of connecting with the customer, it will open up the sector to a broader audience as it engages people outside its traditional demographics. More opportunities to reach digital natives and those who rely on social platforms for the latest product news and must-buys will present themselves – Millennials and GenZ are predicted to represent 130% of market growth by 2025.
4. Be prepared to answer some difficult questions
Environmental, social and sustainability issues will be front of mind for many customers – they’ll want to know all the details about responsible business practices from diversity policies to how products are manufactured with recycling in mind. Store associates will need to have those answers at their fingertips, or risk losing the trust of their most valuable clients.
5. Partner with platforms with the same high standards as you
Safeguarding the future of luxury retail depends on working with a retail platform that is built for this kind of business – partners that promise everything then fail to deliver won’t cut it in an industry that relies on quality as an inherent aspect of its strategy. It pays to take the time to discover what they can really do, and whether they’re fit for purpose for the future.
Having technology you can depend on in times of uncertainty is invaluable to business strategy. It’s how luxury retail can continue to meet customers’ demands through any challenge and exceed their expectations, however high they may be.
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