Flaunt Your Advocates With Visual Commerce for Luxury Goods

von Sean Ogino |

Flaunt Your Advocates With Visual Commerce for Luxury Goods

visual commerce for luxury goods

Visuals are at the core of marketing efforts for countless luxury brands. Indeed, it’s a longstanding tradition for high fashion labels to have no copy–just their name–in print and digital ads. When you’re selling a product based on pure aesthetic appeal, quality, and aspirational qualities, imagery does what words will not. That’s why it makes perfect sense in this age of Instagram to use visueller kommerz for luxury goods marketing.

In essence, visual commerce is an umbrella term that includes, but isn’t strictly restricted to:

  • Accumulating user generated photos and videos from various social media platforms and using them in your marketing activities.
  • Creating interactive displays on your homepage, dedicated gallery pages, product pages, and more to give customers more context and a deeper appreciation for what they’re buying
  • Making your Instagram shoppable with a solution like Shoppic.me

For a more comprehensive overview of visual commerce, check out our beginner’s guide to it!

neiman marcus vc

Now, after getting yourself acquainted with visual commerce, we can begin to discuss why exactly visual commerce for luxury goods is such a wise idea…

Visual Commerce for Luxury Goods: The Socio-Economic Aspect Of The Luxury Industry

Even though luxury commerce saw a bit of a standstill in last few years, that scenario is changing quickly. As per this Walker Sands report, this year saw a fourfold increase from just two years ago in terms of the number of consumers who say they’ve purchased a luxury item online (27 percent in 2016, compared to just 6 percent in 2014). That number is also up from just 10 percent in 2015. This means that there’s little consumer apprehension in buying luxury goods online. No wonder then that McKinsey predicts that sales of luxury goods could triple to €70 billion by 2025.

If you distill these numbers under the process of analysis, you will get to know that there is a tremendous potential for luxury sales- including both the online, offline, and omni-channel ways. Naturally, the less powerful ray is also pointing to the fact that to tap that high-seismic potential, the buyers of this niche market need to be engaged with all of your activities. And that’s where visual commerce for luxury goods shines.

Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. Besides, the intrinsic appeal of luxury goods, regardless of their segments, lies in their visual beauty, which makes the images their lifeblood. Their look, design, and elegance make them what they are. Clearly, the visual way is the best-suited way for luxury goods to cast their spell on the minds and hearts of shoppers.

rebecca-minkoff-vc

Also remember that the same report also said that 76% of the surveyed people said that they’d be open to purchasing luxury goods on any channel (in-store, online from a brand or third-party retailer). Visual commerce can help you on that front too, as you can ask your customers to share their photos or videos and you can curate them to put them all across your stores.

Our post about reusing your user generated content has a thorough list of where you should use your valuable customer photos.

Visual Commerce for Luxury Goods: The Availability of Platforms

As we have already discussed that the very nature of luxury goods is visual, the platform where they could be marketed should also be a visual one. Thus, it’s hard to think any other social media platform than Instagram for luxury goods. And it has already proved effective as it’s an ideal for an “evolved form of window-shopping.” People just scan their feeds and the moment they see a smashing product with a dazzling look, they go for it. The point here is people love to look pictures of a beautiful product. From the popularity of influencers to accounts like “Rich Kids of Instagram,” it’s clear that Instagram is a huge stage for luxury goods.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t explore other channels when you’re marketing your visual content–whether it’s generated by your brand or by your customers. Snapchat is another important channel. Fendi recently did a large coordinated Snapchat campaign, while Burberry did a huge social push for its Spring/Summer 2017 show.

Visual Commerce for Luxury Goods: Monetization Possibilities 

Remember, the very lifeblood of visual commerce is beautiful imagery combined with heightened opportunities for sales. Visual commerce for luxury goods is all about taking advantage of shoppers’ piqued interest and translating that into clicks and conversions.

One way of doing this on Instagram is through Shoppic.me. It’s a straightforward way of monetizing your Instagram following by getting a mobile gallery that links out to your product pages. It requires no implementation time and directly measures the sales outcome of your social marketing efforts. Joe’s Jeans is using it to full effect.

The Shoppic.me gallery for Joe's Jeans. Each image links mirrors the brand's Instagram, and links out to the specified product page.
The Shoppic.me gallery for Joe’s Jeans. Each image links mirrors the brand’s Instagram, and links out to the specified product page.

I believe that videos are also well-suited for this sort of shoppable content. The rationale here is that videos are the highest engagement generator when compared to images and written content. Second, it’s much easier for videos to make the product look aspirational via knitting a story around it. Amidst the dwindling attention spans of people, this is the best available solution to make your product desirable. And once customers are pushed to the threshold of a purchase decision, by making the video shoppable, you are giving an option to your customer to cross that threshold. That’s the main reason why today videos are moving from a mere passive brand awareness to an active sales channel.

We recently did a post on a shoppable video that Ted Baker did that was intertwined with its in-store window displays.

Thus, after analyzing all the scrutiny that I have done till now in this blog, it’s quite safe to say that visual commerce is perhaps the most natural choice for the marketing endeavors of luxury marketers. The reach, the nature of the products, the availability of visual platforms to support its launching and implementation, and the proven methods of monetization are enough to suffice the mettle of my claim. At least I don’t have even an iota of doubt in my mind!

For more guidance on visual commerce, don’t miss these guides!

Christie’s Reinvents Luxury UGC for 250th Anniversary

luxury ugc

The power of user generated photos lies in their flexibility and diversity. It is not necessary that photos should always feature people wearing your clothes or handling your products. Christie’s, one of the art world’s leading businesses, deals with precious art, jewelry, and antiques–definitely not the standard fodder for hashtag campaigns. Still, they just wrapped up a successful luxury UGC campaign. To mark its 250th anniversary, Christie’s created a podium outside of its Rockefeller Plaza location in Manhattan. Passers-by were allowed to go behind the podium to play a role of an auctioneer with a gavel in their hands. Behind the podium, one could see a painting of the house’s founder James Christie along with text explaining the auctioneer’s 250-year mark. Those who took photos were also asked to post their images for the luxury UGC campaign with the hashtag #BeTheAuctioneer. The podium was available from Oct. 26-28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. christies ugc

Of course, the inherent eye-catching nature of this on-the-streets campaign was aimed at piquing the curiosity and awareness of onlookers, especially of those who aren’t already in Christie’s immediate circle. And owing to the authenticity and lifelike nature of user generated photos, they generally become successful in becoming viral and thus in ensuring engagement. That’s precisely why Christie’s chose UGC!

But apart from achieving mere attention, this luxury UGC campaign was quite unique in the sense of its experiential value. Generally, when it comes to UGC campaigns, companies ask customers to share their moments with their products. But Christie’s allowed people to step in the shoes of an auctioneer–who is essentially the salesperson. It’s almost always the case that those contributing photos are on the other side of the counter, or, in this case, podium. Indeed, it was a great example of how to add an experiential touch to your UGC campaign. Of course, user-generated photos are a must to have in today’s extremely visual environment of the internet. But it’s important to know how to use them differently and innovatively. I think any marketer can take this particular leaf out of Christie’s book. Note: Naturally, Christie’s embraced UGC because it understood its power and importance. To have a better understanding of how it actually positively impacts the overall prospects of the business, go through this blog. Still don’t believe us? Our “Ultimate List of User Generated Content Statistics” will make you doubtless.   Searching for other innovative UGC ideas? For thoughts on how to boost sales, recognition, and engagement with visual social content, take a look at our guides:

Loyalty for Luxury Shoppers: A Game of Perks

Loyalty for Luxury Shoppers

The very concept of luxury carries the undercurrent of being rare. It’s something that is not like anything other and thus it’s an odd man out…a distinctively different that the rest of the others. That’s precisely why the luxury brand has to uphold that image. And this key point was the main reason that gave rise to the conception that Kundentreue for luxury goods sellers just won’t work.

Frankly speaking, I am in complete disagreement with the above-mentioned idea. Every industry is different. Every business has its own charms and traps. Thus, it’s quite understandable that one framework of a typical loyalty program will not work for all the industries. Of course, any loyalty program that will make a luxury brand look cheap or less exclusive is going to hit the wall.

But having said that, it doesn’t mean that the concept of  loyalty for luxury goods is absurd. Otherwise, we would never have stats where 80% of the more than 1,300 affluents surveyed (avg. income $258.7k) are active in one or more such programs. This is simply because loyalty means rewarding your customers for their behavior to induce repeat purchases. It’s obvious that traditional ways of rewarding people are not going to work well for the luxury industry. $10 off is hardly a reward that a luxury buyer will fall for.

What is important here for luxury marketers is to come up with meaningful rewards which will make some real sense. And that’s why the marketers of the luxury goods need to come up with innovative and unconventional ways to appreciate the buying act of their customers. We will throw a light on what should be there and what shouldn’t be there in loyalty programs designed for luxury goods.

Loyalty for Luxury Goods: Stay Away From Discounting

There is no doubt that the moment you announce heavy discounts for a luxury brand, customers will automatically question the quality or luxury status of those products. Those discounts inherently scream “cheap”. It’s not that the buyers of luxury goods get repelled by rewards.

For certain tiers of luxury buyers, discount marketing is of low-value – something you don’t want to attach to your high-end products. The point to understand here is that someone who buys luxury goods all the time is not as price sensitive as those who stay away from luxury brands. Of course, there is a whole segment of shoppers who can afford to occasionally shop at luxury retailers, and who will be motivated to purchase by the right discount. The question regarding them, though, is how often you want to work these shoppers into your strategy, and how much you want your brand to be associated with them.

My-Wardrobe, a now obsolete premium fashion retailer, faced the consequences of illogical discounting. It ran a 25% off voucher promotion with Grazia magazine. The designers were at their wit’s end due to the devaluing effect on their full price garments. It goes without saying that independent fashion shops were furious.

Loyalty for Luxury Goods: Make Customers Feel Special

As you can see in the above example, clearly, the dollar off thing is not a cup of tea for luxury retailers. But one must remember that whether people are high spenders or low spenders, they all love rewards. Luxury brands can reward their customers by giving them the feeling of being special and it can be easily linked with the loyalty program.

Valentino, the Italian luxury giant, opened its boutique in New York and it invited some regular customers to the opening ceremony which was full of glamor and glitter. Gucci also invited its biggest spenders to fashion shows, equestrian events, and the Cannes Film Festival. Traditionally, such events are reserved for celebrities, fashion insiders, socially influential figures, and press. Giving the rare opportunity to peep into their interiors was a quintessentially experiential reward.

Alternatively, you can make offers exclusive to insider members only such early access to some range of products that aren’t available to others.  Saks Fifth Avenue, for example, gives loyalty members access to private sales and fashion events.

saks loyalty perks

One more way of rewarding customer loyalty for luxury shoppers is to offer them special services, like tailoring, monogramming, consultations, and so on. Take a look at what Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman’s loyalty program gives their shoppers…

neiman marcus perk card

Loyalty for Luxury Goods: Create a Multilayered Structure

Again, this is the thing which you will find in most other loyalty programs. Because, the basic concept of loyalty, which is to bestow more rewards on most loyal and profitable customers, applies to high-end luxury buyers too. Besides, another benefit of having tiers in the loyalty program is through this you can add an extra layer of exclusivity. You can have a tier that is only obtainable by a selected few.

Naturally, someone who is in the bracket of 5% is an aspirational one for others as they can enjoy exclusive rewards that I have mentioned earlier. In the corridors of luxury buyers, this is a sort of a status game…and it is powerful enough to make others shop more from you to enter the exclusive club.

Loyalty for Luxury Goods: Key Takeaways

1- Do not do anything in your loyalty program which will make people think that you are moving towards cheapness. Because cheapness is the exact opposite of luxury.

2- The people who buy luxury products deserve luxurious treatment. Give them exclusive access to big events or allow them to have an exclusive glance at your new products to make them believe that they are special.

3- Always think about new ways to heighten up the quotient of exclusivity in your loyalty program.

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