Luxury Brands Online
One of the biggest challenges for luxury brands is how they preserve their aura of exclusivity in the digital domain. If you walk around a high end shopping district, you will see the investment luxury brands make in their retail experience. The luxury boutique is not where you go to buy, it is where reverent consumers pay homage to the brands they idolise. But how do you replicate that quasi religious experience when that same customer goes online and Google serves up pages of fake products, poorly merchandised wholesalers, and amateur review forums?
Two things have happened in the last few years that indicate a shift in the way that luxury brands view the Web. The first is that many major brands have taken back control over the distribution and presentation of their products online. They have restricted online wholesaling and treated their own websites as a kind of master boutique designed to educate and extend the in-store experience. Secondly, some of the major luxury groups have started to purchase or establish their own retail platforms. Case in point is Richemont’s acquisition last year of fashion innovator Net-A-Porter.
Watch carefully what happens next with luxury online. For many brands, and especially those in the prestige space - content and storytelling is a crucial component of the way that the luxury brand mythology is created and sustained. Transmedia is an ideal vehicle for this - and also for careful brand cross fertilisation. For example, if you venture onto the newly designed IWC website, you will note a new collaboration with the men’s department of Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter. Entitled the ‘Portofino Watch Lover’s Look’ - the section is a clever integration between style advice, product merchandising and brand storytelling. And naturally - both companies are owned by Richemont. They say you can tell a man by his shoes - so what should a man’s watch say about his clothes?
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