The digital disruption the luxury sector is going through is really deep: the indifference shown by some luxury brands towards this evolution and the lack of an efficient strategy to acquire and keep clients in the digital era, above all in managing e-commerce as a strategic sale lever with an approach different from offline, are showing them to be “slower and slower” in responding to the growing digital expectations of their customers that, on the other hand, have matured very quickly indeed.
We are, in fact, facing increasingly more digitally expert consumers: a unique case among all consumers, luxury consumers were the first to embrace new technologies, to interact with social media and use both off- and on-line touchpoints for requests and purchases, a behaviour that is the basis for what we call omnichannel strategy. According to Forrester, the company I work for as an Analyst, these customers, real “progressive pioneers”, are a very high percentage in the luxury sector: we are talking 64% in China, 48% in the USA and 29% in Europe, much higher figures than those encountered with “traditional” consumers.
The device most used by these Super Shoppers is the smartphone, so much so that expectations for mobile-friendly websites are growing (61% against 54% of “traditional” consumers). So why does the digital offer of many luxury brands continue to be so painfully “poor”?
The brands still unaware of the potentiality of the digital contents are dangerously near digital disenfranchisement: increasingly less “captivating”, they risk losing their customers more expert. At this point, online luxury multi-brands, such as Net-a-Porter and Farfecht that offer much more sophisticated experiences, will become interesting.
The importance of an omnichannel perspective
In the concrete need to keep up with the times, luxury brands must be re-designed with customer-obsessed strategies that put customers at the center of the company processes of which Content Intelligence is an integral part. Forrester’s forecasts have quantified that the world-wide online sale turnover of the luxury retail sector will grow from 21 billion in 2016 to 39 billion in 2021, 49% of which in Asia-Pacific, 27% in North America and 18% in Europe, so it is a long wave to ride at all costs to be competitive. By 2021, 55% of all retail sales in Europe will involve in its processes digital touchpoints, but insofar as the digital influences customers’ behaviors and purchasing desire, the fact that the offline is the place where most transactions take place must not be forgotten.
Since the border between online shop and physical shop is increasingly more ephemeral, a strong need is felt to set the whole company’s organization in an omnichannel perspective, connecting digital and physical touchpoints. As I was saying during my speech in the “How is content transforming luxury retail?” webinar of 27 March, touchpoints require a coherent experience and the keystone is content.
The smart content, the Brands’ gold mine
With a better management of contents, that should be transmitted consistently to allow the brand greater control over communication, and the integration of touchpoints, the risk that customers live through disjointed experiences and remain unsatisfied is avoided. It must be remembered that these contents (HTML pages and multimedia files) that companies already have “in-house”, are very important because they hide a priceless value since, if made “intelligent”, they can transform into “receptors” of the interests of the users that have enjoyed them and therefore into a valuable reservoir of strategic data to be used to supply increasingly more unique and customized customer experiences.
All this is possible with Content Intelligence, that proves to be the most effective strategy to acquire and hang on to luxury customers: the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to contents brings numerous benefits that have been explained during the webinar with practical examples by the co-speaker Antonio Comelli, Content Intelligence Manager (CIM) at THRON, the intelligent DAM.
This tool allows getting the following benefits:
- increasing the organization’s productivity and efficiency by tidying up and rationalizing the whole life cycle of the content, automating the various steps, tagging among them
- protecting brand consistency on all touchpoints and removing tedious duplications, allowing the collection of strategic information about the interests of the users that have enjoyed the contents. It is then possible to define which call to action is the most relevant to each consumer (the right content to the right person)
- boosting engagement and increasing conversion ratios with the possibility of measuring the performance of your own content marketing and redefining your Content Strategy
There are various cases of companies that, thanks to Content Intelligence, are getting the greatest value in terms of efficiency, brand consistency and engagement improvement.
Antonio gave evidence of three of THRON’s luxury brand customers (Pitti Immagine, Valentino and Dainese) where, guiding the Content Intelligence processes within the whole content lifecycle has allowed getting various benefits, among which the lowering of data silos and centralization of contents (and therefore considerable time saving!), the increase in brand consistency and the collection of First-party data, very useful to establish customized relations with customers and increase lead generation and traffic.
With Content Intelligence you can finally get value from your contents and guarantee a customer experience that matches your customers’ expectations.