3 Trends Luxury Brands Need to Adopt to Boost Foot Traffic This Holiday Season
This year, despite the pandemic, the U.S. saw strong growth across luxury retail brands. Kering, owner of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, saw a 46 percent increase in Q1 sales, with online activity contributing significantly.
While shopping shifted largely to online, the easing of restrictions now means many luxury customers are craving the experience of in-store shopping. However, this doesn't mean that shoppers want the same retail experience that they had pre-COVID. Consumers have become accustomed to some of the core elements of convenience, which they now seek out.
Luxury brands must capitalize on this by creating a holistic strategy that embraces the omnichannel shopping behaviors of consumers this holiday season. Here are three trends that brands need to keep in mind in order to stay top of mind with consumers:
Offline is the new luxury. Brands should lean into experiential activations and tactical advertising in order to lure people in-store and make them feel special.
While e-commerce will continue to grow, brick-and-mortar stores can give shoppers what online can’t: immediate access to products, tactile sampling, and full immersion into the holiday spirit. Chanel’s Atelier Beauté store in Manhattan, for example, focuses less on displaying products and more on bringing the experience to life through makeup artists-in-residence, designated spaces for experimentation, and a content creation room with Instagram-approved lighting. What’s clear is that retailers must focus on multisensory as well as multichannel engagement.
According to a Deloitte survey, 63 percent of Generation Z respondents preferred offline shopping channels to online platforms because of more personalized customer service and interactive shopping experiences. Therefore, in-store experiences must maximize personalization and meet the needs of consumers who are converting their online browsing to real-life experiences.
That said, techniques may need to be adapted to a post-pandemic world of social distancing. Apparel and beauty customers, for example, could make appointment-driven visits for immediate personal service.
Additionally, with this season set to be inundated with revenge spending, advertisers can tap into customers’ lifestyles to deliver the right message at the right place and time. Blis research showed that 12 percent of total visits to stores last year were last-minute shoppers. Therefore, brands should look to offer last-minute shortcuts, brief tips and instant pickup (or next-day delivery).
It is not just a case of embracing e-commerce, but executing an omnichannel strategy that mobilizes and inspires customers. Digitalization can unlock new customers and fresh experiences through unified commerce platforms and improved analytics.
Today’s luxury shopper follows a mixed online journey, getting advice from friends on social media or looking for recommendations from bloggers before even entering a store. But while showrooming has taken a back seat for the arrival of webrooming, the balance must be right as shoppers still want to interact with products. Never has it been more pertinent to blur the line between online and offline retail channels.
Customers look to physical stores for their sensory-rich experience, so now is the time to elevate and maximize retail touchpoints. By tapping into these trends, retailers can bring some much needed joy to this year’s holiday shopping season.
Gil Larsen is the vice president of the Americas for Blis, the global leader of location data technology.