What Luxury Retail Knows that All Retailers Need to Learn

One thing that luxury and high end fashion brands has always done well is to engage each shopper individually and understand their unique tastes and preferences. Great associates at those brands know what new merchandise certain shoppers might covet by understanding and observing their previous shopping behaviors. What those associates and brands don’t do is try to promote the most popular item or try to sell it just because it was new. As a matter of fact they know that most popular can sometimes be a way to kill a sale because shoppers define their own individual personal brand by what they purchase, wear and own.

There is a huge correlation between that approach and the way modern consumers shop and define their style. Regardless of price, today’s shoppers are looking for that unique t-shirt or their own personal take on sneakers that isn’t what everyone else has. You can see this in how many brands now make it possible to customize products.

Consumers want to be unique, not buyers of the most common (read popular) thing.

The question for luxury retailers and for all retail brands is how can you accomplish this online in an environment where you don’t have that curating sales associate and you have large concurrent customers visiting your site from anywhere at anytime. Most retailers of all kinds are coming to grips with this dilemma today.

Historically, eCommerce has been driven by presenting the most popular products in merchandising widgets and in site search results. This flies in the face of the way the modern consumer and luxury customers shop. In an odd way those most popular or overly large segment approaches are simply identifying what the shopper probably doesn’t want (especially when it is labeled most popular).

Interestingly enough, all of the elements to engage shoppers at an individual level are actually easier online than they are in person.

Brands can observe what items shoppers click on, observe what they search, what they add to their cart and what they purchase and importantly understand their preferences and intent in the patterns and correlations in all of their actions (brands, colors, materials, etc.). The secrets are in keeping an individual profile for each shopper where the brand can leverage this information and having an agile platform that can respond in real time to new shopper actions and behaviors by presenting the most individually relevant products and merchandise to site search, in merchandising opportunities and even email.

When brands execute this individual level relevance they are able to create more successful shopping experiences (increase conversion rates), increase brand loyalty (higher return traffic) and be a much more informed brand about their shoppers and their needs (a customer centric organization).

Kurt Heinemann

Kurt is Reflektion’s CMO. His resume includes CMO positions at Marketwired and Monetate. He’s also held senior executive positions at Priceline, Time Warner and Walker Digital Companies. Despite living in Yankees territory, Kurt is a die hard Tigers fan.