Those who doubt that we are in the mobile digital age are yet to come to terms with what is happening around them. Current statistics show that the largest portion of digital traffic originates with mobile usage. In fact, 65% of all media that people consume worldwide is through the mobile web.
This explains why companies and organisations across the globe are striving to take advantage of these stats by leveraging branding and marketing strategies to concentrate on mobile devices. They seek to take their business to the platforms that consumers spend most of their time on.
In a report published by McKinsey 2014, 45% of all luxury sales were found to be influenced by digital platforms2. This figure is quite low when compared to other non-luxury sales. The phenomenon can be party accounted for by the reluctance for luxury manufacturers to take up mobile marketing as their primary marketing strategy.
For a long time now, customers of high end products have preferred the personalised customer service offered by the brick and mortar stores so much that they have largely frowned upon the idea of online shopping when considering buying luxury products. Household brands are among the few businesses that have stubbornly clung to their old-fashioned manner of conducting business.
When doing marketing, many of companies have ignored customers who have embrace the smartphone and tablet technology and chosen instead to focus on those with the desktop technology. An L2 digital marketing survey carried out in 2014 found out that 94 percent of luxury watch manufacturers used the desktop technology, while less than half of them, even considered the touch screen technology3. Additionally, less than a sixth of the same brands even considered offering consumers a version of their website that was mobile friendly.
This trend has however been declining with time as the companies realised the critical role that mobile applications have in brand promotion and driving sales. Online sales for the luxury products have thus increased over time, and the emergence of such ventures like Net-A-Porter has actually proven that people are willing to pay in full for luxury products sold online. The Luxury Institute based in New York actually found out through a study that 93 percent of shoppers with a mobile application have expressed a general positive experience with product apps4. Similarly, they are of the view that brands that have mobile applications are preferable to those that do not.
From a trend to a must-have
Once the trend was set for the mobile app technology in the luxury brand market, there was no looking back. Luxury product manufacturers went all out to develop the best and most intuitive apps for their customers’ enjoyment. Many of the mobile apps for luxury brands available on the market today feature interactive videos, digital catalogues and behind the scene footage as well. Although these features are common to many other digital channels, luxury brands go a step further to make the entire experience immersive for the client. Here are just a few examples:
Bentley have an emotional recognition technology
Bentley’s app is among the most current innovative luxury apps. The app is more than just your ordinary online shopping tool. The app dubbed “Inspirator” has been designed in such a way that it can take advantage of emotional recognition to provide the ultimate personalised digital experience. This is intended to market and increase the visibility of Bentley’s new Bentayga SUV.
The app, by using a series of images of music, beaches and yachting, is capable of reading the users’ emotions by analysing “subtle muscular micro-shifts and correlates them with complex emotional and cognitive states,” to determine how the viewer interacts with and responds to each image.
Once the responses and reactions are registered in the app, it designs a vehicle with personalised interior features and name. the user can then get in touch with Bentley to order their car and even make changes on their website to be shared via social media. This makes the entire process very personal and intimate.
Land Rover have a Face Watch
The Face Watch takes the entire experience a notch higher.
“The watch face uses the smartwatch altitude meter to track your elevation according to sea level, adapting the position of the landscapes as you climb and fall. What’s more, each landscape pans across your watch face as the day progresses, making subtle movements once every minute.”Land Rover Watch Face Description
This is sure to make the driving experience intensely personal and engaging.
These two examples show just how much can be achieved by luxury brands when they decide to embrace the mobile app technology. The features that were traditionally associated with the brick and mortar stores – personalisation, emotional engagement and experience – are thus able to incorporated into the shopping experience.
Developing an app for a luxury brand
Developing an app for the luxury brand market is not similar as designing one for the mass market. For starters, care should be taken to make the app worthwhile, because luxury brand customers may just be as willing to go for the brick-and-mortar shopping if the app doesn’t work properly. Designing an app for the luxury market should therefore endeavour to find the right balance between intuitive user experience, seamless functionality and convenience.
While the app is created to enhance the quality of service provided, it should not necessarily seek to replace customer service. The app should only endeavour to free up the staff so that they can focus on offering the personal touch that luxury shoppers look for.
The following are therefore some considerations to have in mind when developing an app for luxury brands.
Create an app that enhances the customer’s status
Luxury shoppers are attracted to products and services that appeal to their social status and privilege. One of the primary reasons why people talk about and engage with things is to show the character traits that would make them attractive to others. Similarly, the major reason why people buy luxury products is to show their position and status in society. Luxury brands can therefore leverage this by developing an app and publishing content that seeks to enhance their customers’ image. When such a product or an app is seen by others, they conclude that the customer is smart, stylish and even cool.
Online exclusivity is critical for luxury shoppers
Exclusivity is another critical concern for luxury shoppers. Nothing appeals to the luxury shopper than the fact that what they own is scarce and rare. If anyone could afford to walk into a Ferrari dealer shop and walk away with a new vehicle, the company would quickly lose its appeal of luxury and prestige.
Because the internet is easily accessible and autonomous many luxury brands are worried that they may lose their exclusivity when they take their business online. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. When luxury brands use the internet, they are not entering wider circulation of actual goods per se. they are only increasing the distribution of content that creates a desire to buy and own luxury products. Effective marketing, in this respect, can therefore be likened to increasing the adverts that run on TVs and buses.
Exclusivity can then be guaranteed through private membership in online groups, loyalty perks that are delivered digitally, concierge services and other benefits reserved for loyal customers.
Create an app that combines user experience, style and functionality
When considered generally, luxury brand websites have very stylish design but score poorly in functionality and user experience. While the efforts at appearing flashy and stylish are appreciated, it’s of greater importance to consider designing the app with the user experience and functionality in mind. The mobile or web application designed should be easy to navigate through and intuitive as well so that customers have an easy time finding what they are looking for.
Tell the story behind your luxury product
Just like any other form of brand promotion, creating a compelling story to accompany your app is the greatest way of getting customers to identify with your brand. The hallmark of great marketing is in explaining why the brand exists in the first place. But many brands do not get this; they instead try to market themselves by describing what they do.
Apple, for instance, have a great story behind their marketing that instantly appeals to consumers from all walks of life.
“Everything we do; we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers.”The secret of Apple’s success
Telling the story behind your products, coupled with explaining the values that define you as a luxury brand is the most effective way of doing luxury marketing. The brand will easily generate online advocacy if you take the time to show that you can guarantee quality, performance, luxury and style.
Leverage visual social networks
Marketing of luxury products goes hand in hand with visual appeal. For this reason, use of photographs is the best approach for evoking emotions that consumers will associate with the product you want them to purchase. Wearing designer clothing, driving a luxury vehicle or having an exclusive experience can be made more appealing to consumers through strategic use of visual aids.
As such, visual social networks become indispensable. Social networks like Pinterest and Instagram thus offer unlimited opportunities for luxury brands to enhance the awareness of their brand. And creating an app that leverages these platforms can guarantee that such a brand commands a considerable online presence.
Optimise the power and reach of mobile app marketing
Creating an app for a luxury brand and launching it in the market is not enough to guarantee instant results. Much has still to be done in terms of marketing and optimisation to generate interest in the app itself. Luckily, there are numerous tools and strategies that can be adopted to enhance the effective uptake of the luxury brand mobile app. Some of these tools are outlined below:
Social media integration
Social media platforms a great opportunity for luxury brands to interact with both current and potential clients. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms offer advertising and integration opportunities for those doing mobile marketing. The countless people on these platforms can easily become consumers of your products and services if only you take the time to optimise your app for these platforms.
Search engine optimisation
Search engines are another priority for luxury product marketers. Google, the largest search engine currently, has prioritized mobile search over other results using its Mobilegeddon update. This update is set to penalise sites and apps that do not incorporate mobile marketing into their strategy. Optimising your site for such search engines will therefore guarantee higher search rankings and an enhanced online presence.
The virtual reality with its unlimited possibilities is finding its way into mobile platforms in the near future. Mobile app design that incorporates virtual reality can go a long way in appealing to the consumers of luxury products.
Incorporating feedback from clients.
In most cases, users need to be informed about a particular product before they actually decide to do something about it in the name of purchasing it. Moreover, in making these decisions, many users rely on the experiences of others who have used the product before. This is why it’s critical to use such feedback from users to improve the functionality of the mobile and make it better. Once customers are convinced that you are responding to their concerns, they will easily become loyal to your brand.
While some luxury product consumers may frown upon mobile apps in favour of the personal touch of the brick-and-mortar store, many are realising the numerous ways through which such an app can improve their overall shopping experience. Therefore, luxury businesses that are taking advantage of this shift in preference are definitely reaping the benefits thereof. The only precaution to take is to ensure that the app so developed is functional and appealing to the clients. Otherwise, you will remain with your dysfunctional app as clients search for the next best available alternative.
If you are interested you are interested in having an app developed for your luxury brand, then you have come to the right place.
At Vivim, we pride ourselves in designing and creating intuitive, functional and stylish apps for luxury brands to help grow your business and expand the reach in the market. Get in touch with us and watch as we help you build the app of your dreams.