Why Luxury Brands and Retailers Can’t Ignore Personalisation
Online personalisation has spurred rapid growth for many eCommerce businesses in recent years. To date, brands like ASOS — with thousands of products, catering to thousands of differing tastes — have benefited most.
Fans of fast fashion tend to hit online stores every payday, intent on adding a few fresh pieces to their wardrobe. Personalised product recommendations are all that’s needed to ease them over the line. Often each transaction will contain multiple items, pushing up average order value. And so, these eCommerce businesses grow.
Personalisation may appear to work hardest for brands moving a wide variety of low-ticket items quickly. But this doesn’t mean that other sectors don’t stand to benefit from personalisation. One such sector is luxury retail.
The average customer of a luxury retailer is unlikely to spend with the volume or frequency of an ASOS customer. The high-ticket items on offer are often once-in-a-lifetime purchases, like an engagement ring, a Swiss-made watch, or a designer leather handbag.
For luxury retailers, there are different considerations when it comes to using online personalisation. Rather than boosting low-value repeat purchases, personalisation strengthens the relationship between the customer and brand. This can reduce friction in customer journeys that are longer and take more consideration.
This blog post explores five ways personalisation is important for luxury brands and retailers. If your business sells high-ticket items, read on to learn how you can get ahead with personalisation.
1. Reacting to changing consumer behaviour
Luxury brands were slower than most to awaken to the opportunity of eCommerce. As recently as five or ten years ago, customers may not have been able to purchase anything on a luxury brand’s website.
Brands selling high-ticket items used to see websites as a branding exercise, rather than a sales opportunity. Even then, sometimes they failed to keep their website updated.
It has taken time, but most luxury brands have now recognised the need to meet consumer expectations. Many now embrace eCommerce. As a result, consumers have become more willing and comfortable to buy luxury goods online. A substantial portion (9 percent) of luxury good sales are now made online.
2. Offering a consistent high-quality customer experience
When a customer enters a bricks-and-mortar luxury store, they are in for a treat. Luxury brands and retailers take pride in turning shopping for high-ticket items into an immersive experience.
Stunning lighting, beautiful decor, immaculate displays, and attentive customer service. Consumers have come to expect nothing less when they shop for luxury goods. After all, the more they spend, the more personalised they expect their buying experience to be.
Personalisation empowers your brand to create an equally memorable shopping experience online. Personalisation platforms, like our own, make use of real-time behavioural data to tailor content dynamically. This allows you to offer an online experience that is as close as possible to the service a customer would get face to face.
3. Improving the path to purchase
Brands that overlook personalisation may do so because they believe the bulk of their sales still happen in-store. This may be true. But website and email personalisation can still play an important role in the journey to purchase.
Research by Havas revealed that a brand’s website is the third most important touchpoint in a path to purchase for luxury goods. Just behind the boutique experience and the boutique window.
Many consumers research products online over a number of days, weeks, or even months — before eventually buying in-store. This makes perfect sense in the luxury sector. After all, part of the pleasure of buying a high-ticket item is the exclusive in-store experience. Philippe Galtié, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Tiffany, highlights this point well:
While we find that more and more of our clients begin their journey online, most ultimately make their way in store for the luxury experience and guidance of a knowledgeable sales professional.
The research phase in luxury goods is longer and more considered than in other sectors.
Personalisation allows you to turn this long path to purchase to your advantage.
As a person browses, your brand has the opportunity to gain lots of valuable insights into their tastes and buying signals. You can use this data to support their journey to purchase through personalisation. For example, by showing them relevant product recommendations along the way.
4. Keeping up with affluent consumers
The average person won’t be buying luxury goods frequently. But this does not hold true for affluent consumers. Some high-end luxury brands cater for an affluent audience that can enjoy buying a number of high-ticket items, often.
These affluent consumers are tech-savvy. Research by Google reveals that their smartphone usage is double that of the rest of the population. Three-quarters of affluent consumers conduct research online before purchasing.
Personalisation allows your brand to make the most of the way affluent consumers use technology and keep up with their buying habits.
5. Driving repeat purchases
Luxury brands lose half their top customers every year. After all, for less affluent customers, luxury items may be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. This is one reason why few luxury brand customers become repeat purchasers.
As a result, driving repeat purchases is hugely important. Luxury brands that manage to do this well, have a much greater opportunity for growth than their competitors. Personalisation offers some essential ways to ramp up repeat purchases, including:
- Post-purchase cross-sells: For example, recommending a matching clutch for a recently bought handbag.
- Timely automations: For example, if someone bought a ring last Christmas, recommend complementary earrings the same time next year.
- Creating brand loyalty: Consumers will favour the overall experience on offer. If your online experience is poor, you may lose a customer the next time they have the money to buy again.
Personalisation is a must for luxury brands and retailers that want to see their business grow. It ensures your customer experience is consistently high class, by emulating face-to-face service.
When customers research online, your luxury brand gains access to a wealth of data. Using this to personalise your customer’s journey to purchase will help you drive conversions.
Personalisation also allows you to indulge affluent customers in a personalised experience that supports their love of making prestigious purchases.
To implement the strategies described in this blog post, you’ll need a personalisation platform in place. To see ours in action, book a demo via the button below.