10 October 2017 | Anant Sharma
Consumers – and not just Gen-X and Millennials, although they are certainly helping to drive it – want 360°, fun, unique brand experiences. Their focus is not just on buying something, but on being part of something, while still being treated as an individual.
Yet all too often, high net worth customers are lumped together as one entity with the same needs and desires. However, brands can no longer afford to be complacent about their customer base, or over sensitive about their CRM approach. Personalisation is not a nice to have, it is a necessity.
Brands need to find new and engaging ways to differentiate themselves, and their approach to eCommerce is a key way to achieve these. Ironically, while luxury brands typically pride themselves on being the leaders and tastemakers for their industries, when it comes to many luxury retail eCommerce experiences, consumers can feel as if they are sifting through a sea of sameness.
However, executed correctly, an eCommerce strategy can enable the curated lifestyle experiences consumers crave, while still conveying exclusivity. In other words – great brand experiences without gimmick.
For example, we recently delivered a complete relaunch of SWEAR, the cult designer footwear company founded by Farfetch CEO, José Neves, some twenty years ago. The brand has a unique set of eclectic collections, with grunge and punk undertones.
We helped unify the SWEAR London and SWEAR Alternative brands, launching a cutting edge eCommerce site that brings the world’s first truly customisable trainer to market.
This involved mapping out and simplifying a complex set of user journeys, helping users customise almost any aspect of their shoe with ease.
Numerous customisation options have been designed across ten key areas per shoe resulting in an immeasurable array of outcomes for the consumer, with the choice of trainer materials alone at www.swear-london.com ranging from simple suede and leather to more unusual and bespoke materials.
To support the launch, the brand is running a prolific influencer marketing strategy, focused on channels such as Snapchat and Instagram, involving the likes of will.i.am. Products will be customised on a monthly basis, in the form of a ‘takeover’, to inspire users and showcase the individuality in every outcome. This will be key in engaging with SWEAR’s demographic.
The solution is bold and highly interactive; it's a design created for the digital native and isn't afraid to throw traditional eCommerce convention on its head.
Offering personalisation is also seen as a key access point by which brands can enter a more premium marketplace. We have helped Tangle Teezer, the much loved hair detangling business, give its brand a more high end feel. This was accomplished in large part through the design and launch of a unique, innovative customisation engine. It allows users to alter colours, add photos and make their hairbrush unique. It has proved incredibly popular and helped drive 66% revenue growth online.
Right at the other end of the spectrum, we’ve also worked closely with brands such as The Rug Company to bring digital customisation into their purchase journey, successfully turning a once solely in-person, in-store experience to one which can be better replicated online. We redesigned their website with a bespoke Rug Builder which enables customers to customise their rugs to the exact size, shape and design they desire. Being able to offer this service has strengthened the brands position as a luxury player in homeware. We believe emerging standards in augmented reality will also further benefit considered purchases, helping better contextualise the end product in its final environment.
But ultimately, no matter how big or small the purchase -- be it a fun hairbrush, an ‘of the moment’ fashion purchase or a high value homeware decision you’ll have to live with long term -- giving users a real sense of ownership over their final purchase will create loyalty and and love. By creating an inextricably entwined relationship between the buyer and product, brands can increase lifetime value and advocacy. While we appreciate that Luxury brands face a difficult balancing act between retaining brand truths and exclusivity and embracing technology, to thrive they need to be brave and embrace change.