PART 2: Luxury Brands, Social Networking & Digital Marketing
by Simon O’Connell
Fashion runway © iStockphoto.com/ ShevchenkoN
Luxury Brands & Apps
Although 20% of affluent shoppers and 37% of ultra-high-net-worth shoppers have engaged in mobile commerce, only five out of 73 brands mentioned in the L2 Digital Luxury Index allowed mobile purchasing and only seven had mobile-enabled sites although this is g Luxury Brands, Social Networking & Digital Marketing rowing rapidly.
It’s easy to understand why. Presenting a luxury experience on the small screen of a Samsung, Apple, or LG Smartphone is difficult – if not impossible.
The Wealth Report from The Luxury Institute reveals some interesting information on mobile app use amongst ‘affluents’ (those earning at least $150,000 per annum) in the US.
One third of the ‘affluents’ who had downloaded apps (i.e. about 10% of the overall affluent smartphone market) had downloaded some apps from consumer brands. The most popular luxury branded apps downloaded were BMW, Mercedes Benz, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
The top three functions performed on these apps was clicking through to a website, communicating with others, and locating a store. So if you’re hovering on the brink of creating a mobile app for your brand, does this information clarify your decision?
An app isn’t an essential part of your strategy. Branded apps have only been downloaded by approximately 10% of affluent consumers in the USA.
If you can’t think of a way that a mobile app will enhance your customers’ lives, which is consistent with your brand, then don’t waste time and money building one.
These affluent consumers have regular engagement with just seven apps on average, so when luxury consumers do download apps, they’re highly engaged with them, although they tend to be for news / weather / sport.
If you can think of a compelling use for an app – something that’s genuinely useful to your consumers when they’re on the move, and that enhances perceptions of your brand – then the affluent market for branded apps is not inconsiderable, particularly when targeting a younger market.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that while on average, seven apps are used on a regular basis (although 57% used 5 or fewer), the most popular were those related to weather, followed by news and gaming applications – the same as for the general ‘app downloading’ public.
The key seems to be that there needs to be a very compelling reason why someone would use / need your app whilst out and about.
It’s the i-Pad that’s most captured the attention of luxury brands, and almost 40% have developed apps for it.
Gucci is one of luxury’s success stories when it comes to mobile Apps, with more than 600,000 downloads of its commerce enabled App, which is also available for the i-Pad.
Hugo Boss is another brand which excels in this area, with both i-Phone and i-Pad apps.
Burberry has a commerce-enabled i-Pad app that is distributed via its stores to allow select customers to shop products straight from the catwalk.
Although not commerce-enabled, Valentino, Gucci, and Tod’s also have interesting i-Pad apps.
Fashion Designers Digital Innovation
Burberry is the most innovative luxury brand when it comes to digital. The Art of the Trench site gained acclaim and was a massive PR success. However traffic has now diminished, demonstrating the need for constant innovation if you are to keep online followers stimulated.
Actor Emma Watson appeared in a video aimed at the brand’s Facebook followers, and last year the catwalk show was shown in 3D at selected locations globally. While all hits are certainly effective in PR and innovation terms, it’s hard to know if the people who enjoy these things can be converted into purchasers now or in the future.
GucciConnect allowed viewers to share the ‘experience’ of going to a fashion show. E-ticket holders for the spring 11 catwalk show were shown live streaming of the Milanese streets before the event as the guests arrived, four video feeds giving different perspectives of the show, and a glimpse backstage. Users were also allowed to upload videos of themselves watching, and to interact with others.
Calvin Klein has embraced the i-Pad with a click-to-shop ad in the i-Pad edition of Interview magazine. The issue featured more than three hours of Calvin Klein content and directs users to the e-commerce site.
Calvin Klein has also embraced QR codes (designs which when scanned by a phone’s camera deliver content) on billboards, which unlock sexy images from the ad campaigns on Smartphones.
Twitter allows smaller brands to build a following without a large investment. For example, Tory Burch’s Tweets about her glamorous and aspirational lifestyle, such as hiking in Aspen, helps bring her brand to life, at virtually no cost.
Diane Von Furstenberg also Tweets from around the world, highlighting pictures of stylish women she meets.
These are both effective ways of keeping in touch with customers, while projecting your brand image at low cost.