Why apps are the future of luxury

You’ve heard it a thousand times: “apps are the future!”, “go mobile or go home”, “mobile first”. It’s true, and yet, a lot of brands are still ignoring it. Mobile usage is extending (both in time and in ways of usage), and luxury brands (among others) have started looking at mobile marketing as a new touchpoint with their customers.

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Mobile apps vs web apps

A mobile version of a website is not an app. It doesn’t serve the same purpose on the brand’s side (at least, it shouldn’t) and it doesn’t answer the same needs on the customer’s side.

Web apps” are accessible through a navigator. The customer types keywords on Google, let’s say, finds your web app, and checks it. It’s a punctual need (details about a product, quick online purchase, etc.). While they’re easy to access (no need to download the app), they don’t create any sense of loyalty and usually don’t attract returning visitors.

On the other hand, “mobile apps” are specifically designed to be an app, and usually have a different purpose than the website. They can serve m-commerce purposes but usually go beyond that. They tend to create loyalty thanks to new contents, and they enable brands to use push notifications. Also, the small icon on the phone’s homepage is a good reminder to return to the app.

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Mobile apps have their own purpose

Apps are not websites, so they shouldn’t merely be a mobile-optimized copy of those. Let’s look at some successful examples.

Hermès launched its Silk Knots app, as I mentioned in a previous article, to teach customers about different ways to knot scarves. Customers draw extra value out of the app: they learn something that is not limited to the brand since they can use the knotting techniques on any square scarf. The app simply improves the way they feel about the brand.

Dior launched the app Dior Mag. Dior Mag is actually something that exists on the brand’s website. The app delivers stories about the brand, interviews, news about the shows, etc. Dior invites customers to discover the story of the brand and to get to know the brand better. This is key to a stronger connection with the brand and to returning visitors.

Finally, Louis Vuitton tried to solve this awkward moment when a customer flips through a magazine, looks at the latest Louis Vuitton ad and wonders which bag is shown, what it’s made of, etc. On some ads, an icon reads “LV Pass” and the LV Pass app enables customers to scan the ad to get information about the products, making-ofs of the ad, etc. This app is an example of how a brand can extend the customer experience at home, starting with an ad that would be in magazines anyway.

Takeaways: what an app should do

  • Have a purpose of its own: it should have its own message
  • Be user-friendly
  • Embrace the brand’s DNA: an app should be an extension of the brand and its values
  • Link to other channels (website, social media, messaging apps, etc.)
  • Reinvent the brand: an app is an opportunity to post new contents regularly, explore new possibilities of experience, make the brand memorable. Luxury is associated with exclusivity and quality; customers can be provided with a little bit of luxury anywhere and anytime they want thanks to apps. Whether what it offers is unique, useful, fun, etc., differentiation will make a brand stand out.

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Cheers, and enjoy the weekend,

Constance

Why Hermès is mastering the 3.0 consumer experience

Have you ever wondered how Hermès manages to remain the most traditional French luxury brand while standing out as a modern and connected one? I, for one, have. And I believe it is thanks to the Maison’s efforts to deliver a customer experience that is as enjoyable online as it is offline.

Hermès was one of the first luxury brands to launch its e-commerce website, in 2001. It’s no surprise, then, that digital is key to Hermès’ growth strategy. The Maison has a strong presence on social media, with well-chosen channels (including Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram).

Hermès succeeded in extending consumer experience beyond physical stores thanks to a coherent message about the brand’s tradition of craftsmanship. The brand often pushes content to customers on various channels: the men’s winter 2015 fashion show was viewable online (and is now on YouTube), apps were created to increase the level of engagement with the brand (Silk Knot was launched in 2013 to share knots for scarves, followed by Tie Break for men’s ties in 2014). It’s actually on the brand’s own channels (apps, company websites) that the customer experience becomes the most interesting.

A few months ago, Hermès launched a new e-commerce platform for its famous carrés. La Maison des Carrés was designed with user experience in mind, and I believe Hermès did a brilliant job. This website is both attractive and practical, allowing visitors to filter on several criteria. Welcome to the Hermès house, where you’re able to peek at every room, get a closer look at scarves, ties, or scarf rings while learning about the designer and its design… With more styles available than in any store (there can be up to three collections at the time), you have more choice than if you visited one. You also get useful tips as if you were in a store: there are videos showing different knots. Finally, as on an e-store, you see which colors are available, at what price, and you can purchase the items directly on the platform. All of this with at the end of you fingertips, whether you’re on a computer, a tablet or a smartphone.

Therefore, Hermès tries (and succeeds in) making its customer experience as enchanting online as it is offline thanks to a coherent brand image and efforts to provide the best user experience possible.