There’s something special about experiencing luxury. Aspirational advertisements paint the picture of a lifestyle to be desired, in-store service makes us feel fawned over, and the products themselves offer the opportunity to own something seemingly unique and of a higher quality.
Regardless of the customer’s intentions in luxury, be it status, prestige, value, aesthetics or emotion, the brands have taken on the task of making our experience feel special.
Different companies craft this experience in different ways, some through exclusivity, like Verdura’s private jewelry box of a boutique located high above street level, overlooking Central Park; Sportmax on West Broadway has supported the arts by hosting dance performances in their uniquely architected space. Chanel offers such a high level of customer service that I’ve heard stories of aspirational customers having such a positive experience in the store that they come back to make their first purchase years later, never forgetting what it felt to encounter luxury that first time; Sypker automobiles creates personalized websites allowing customers to track the progress of their exclusive automobiles being made especially for them.
In today’s world of market fragmentation, where there are so many channels for customers and potential customers to be exposed to the brand, the need to establish and deliver a memorable experience is what sets brands apart.
In yesterday’s article, we covered how ecommerce sites can and should have more engaging Thank You pages following a purchase in order to keep the interaction going with the customer. This is but one example of how brands can easily create a better encounter for customers and is part of a larger relationship between brands and their customers. In a way, customers seek out similar traits in brands that they do in love: reliability, attention, validation and elevation. Not that brands could ever be a substitute for a true partner, but let’s face it, my love for Louis Vuitton could definitely have replaced an old boyfriend or two.
Think of the advertisement as the first flirtatious glance, the point that initiates interest. Or perhaps it is word of mouth that creates a spark, prompting people to step into a store or visit the brand’s website.
After that initial interaction, it then becomes the job of the store or web environment to entice the customer to explore the merchandise, learn about the brand, come back in the future, and ultimately make a purchase.
But creating a lasting relationship can’t end with the first purchase (the equivalent to a one-night stand). Rather, the brand should continue to court the customer to impress, educate, validate and make the customer feel special.
One brand that does this particularly well is Diane von Furstenberg. From consistent and on-brand store locations, to especially helpful staff, unswerving and remarkable collection pieces and a steady flow of ongoing communication (emails, birthday card gift certificates, mailers, etc), a strong social media presence and an engaging, easy-to-use brand website, DVF remains at the top of their game. And who doesn’t want a relationship with the person in the room that has it all together?
I would encourage all brands to take a step back from their marketing, retail and design strategies and ask themselves: if I were a customer, would I date my brand?
Photo Credits: David Sandberg
Edited by: Gina Conforti