Steeped in tradition, true luxury brands are admired for their dedication to incomparable quality and craftsmanship. They are leaders in white-glove customer service and bespoke shopping experiences. But to rise above the noise of today’s digital marketplace, they need to pair their rich heritage with the latest in digital innovation.
According to Statista, an estimated 25% of global luxury goods sales will be made online by 2025. Today’s brands must keep up with the technologies and trends that customers have come to expect, from mobile-first web design to a frictionless checkout process. For high-quality – and high-priced – luxury goods, customers expect even more. Luxury brands must differentiate themselves by transforming the highly curated, ‘white-glove’ experience of their brick-and-mortar stores into immersive high-tech online brand experiences.
Stewards of luxury brands need to understand the three core levels of ecommerce: user experience-driven eCommerce features, end-to-end bespoke customer experience, and brand storytelling.
These levels build on each other to create recognition, drive online sales, and provide the premium experience customers come back for again and again. By taking advantage of the three levels, innovative luxury brands can become leaders in the digital marketplace. The brands that rise above will be the ones that understand that the digital experience is part of the luxury.
User experience-driven ecommerce features
Robust technology and user-friendly interfaces are the foundation of excellent ecommerce. For customers exploring and purchasing luxury goods, the experience must be seamless. Slow site speed and loading times, disjointed checkout flows, and awkward personalization can frustrate customers. Trust plummets and so do conversion rates. When implemented well, ecommerce platforms create an effortless and meaningful shopping experience.
The best platforms include flexible and robust features. They enable seamless integration with analytics, data management, and the latest third-party tools – including future-forward technologies such as metaverse connectivity and virtual reality experiences. Coupled with highly customizable personalization features, a carefully designed ecommerce platform can provide the end-to-end white-glove service that complements the in-store luxury experience while seamlessly scaling to support growing product lines and global audiences.
The creation of high-quality online luxury experiences has helped to refine and advance the luxury brand industry online. For example, Fraser Hart is one of the UK’s leading jewelers, specializing in bespoke jewelry and unique, individualized ring customization services since 1936. They needed to reimagine their online digital presence, and in doing so, address several technical challenges: improving site speed and reporting processes; supporting their growing global audience; and capturing their unique product catalog across all devices.
Fraser Hart worked with BORN Group to determine the best digital solution and deliver a world-class customer experience across all Fraser Hart’s products and services. The new site enables a high-quality, unified digital experience across devices. It includes best-of-breed localization features that empower shoppers regardless of their region. Strengthening the connection between their digital and physical presence, the new platform also helps to centralize stock-level management between stores and improve internal merchandising. The design overhaul integrated many unique features of the platform to bring Fraser Hart’s mission of tailoring jewelry to the individual to life. The new design and underlying technology empower a level of personalization and merchandising that the brand had not seen before. Coupling BORN’s design prowess with an upgraded eCommerce platform, Fraser Hart’s new digital presence enabled its audience to experience the luxury of the brand outside of the store, converting and delighting more customers in this new digital space.
End-to-end bespoke customer experience
A strong digital platform enables a strong customer experience. For luxury brands, the customer experience is part of the luxury. Customers who expect white-glove, individualized customer service in physical stores expect the same in the digital space. From the customer’s first glance at the website to the post-purchase emails they receive, every interaction must delight and resonate with them. Customers expect that the messaging and services will cater to their needs and wants.
A customer-centric, high-quality, end-to-end customer experience relies on a deep understanding of the audience. User data, research, and emotional intelligence — leveraged to evaluate, understand, and influence emotions — can help. This consumer knowledge helps brands deliver the right message, at the right time, through the appropriate channel. Brands can approach their audience in a way that resonates on a deeper level. This is particularly important for luxury brands, where emotions play a key role in purchasing high-quality, high-cost, or bespoke luxury goods.
Engaging with an emotionally intelligent brand tailored to fit the customer’s needs makes them feel like they’re part of the experience, not just part of a transaction. For generations, the oldest clothing retailer in the United States, Brooks Brothers has been a timeless choice for shirting, suiting, and more. As the breadth and depth of their offerings evolved, they sought out ways for customers to see them as “far more than a store.” BORN overhauled Brooks Brothers’ ecommerce site, redesigning and customizing content to educate, guide, and engage users in the right place at the right time in the customer journey. Part of this work involved customizing the product detail page with “buy online, pick-up in-store” capabilities. This helped to create a more seamless experience between the digital and physical paths in the customer journey. For the shirt-buying experience, the team redesigned the product listing page with filters to direct customers to “their” perfect shirt, amplifying the individualized touchpoints throughout that purchasing flow. In addition, the team also focused on the loyalty rewards and redemption pages. The redesign aimed to inspire excitement, loyalty and repurchasing. BORN’s redesign of key touchpoints in the end-to-end customer experience helped to strengthen customer relationships with the brand and to encourage their return to the Brooks Brothers experience.
Storytelling is the thread that ties the customer experience together. Marketing through storytelling is a powerful strategy to help luxury brands stand out in the flood of online retailers. With their heritage, history, and strong values, luxury brands have strong stories to tell. The key is to tell the brand story throughout the customer’s digital journey, by infusing every touchpoint with the brand’s voice. Successful brand storytelling can be used to build a community of customers who share similar values. Brand storytelling is a way to demonstrate values in an authentic way. Today, people prefer companies that have strong values that align with their own. Studies show that, if cost and quality are equal, more than 70% of customers prefer to buy from a purpose-driven company. The social issues that a luxury brand supports (such as sustainability and ethical resourcing) amplifies its values and brand story. While product and service quality are paramount to a luxury goods brand, it is their story that resonates with its audiences— it builds deep connections, encourages loyalty, and ultimately drives ongoing engagement.
Storytelling is a valuable part of a luxury brand’s digital presence – and the foundation of BORN’s approach to luxury brand design. Since 1860, Frette has produced linens and home furnishings of unparalleled quality, and this rich heritage forms the base of their story. Frette recently approached BORN for a complete site redesign and re-platform. BORN worked with Frette to gain a deep understanding of the nuances of the brand and its product offerings. Leveraging this knowledge with their expertise in the luxury space, BORN infused Frette’s brand essence and heritage throughout the site re-design. The new design integrated content-rich stories featuring designers and inspiring interiors, highlighting the brand’s values alongside customer-centric messaging. Updated content was designed to educate consumers on Frette’s craftmanship, product quality, ongoing innovations, and time-tested partnerships. The finished web design was a Platinum Winner at the dotCOMM Awards. Integrating brand storytelling throughout the end-to-end customer experience, BORN helped to position Frette as the global authority in fine handcrafted linens.
In the digital world of luxury brands, every digital experience touchpoint should bring surprise, delight, and a reaffirmation of the renowned and timeless quality of the brand. BORN’s digital-first approach combined with the richness of luxury brand storytelling helps bring the in-store experience online, seamlessly. With customized ecommerce implementations, end-to-end customer experience design, and brand storytelling, BORN helps luxury brands deliver luxurious digital experiences.