“I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.”
These words by Ralph Lauren reiterate what luxury fashion is. It is not meant to be affordable or easily accessible, it is not meant to be mass-produced or to be owned by all, but above all, it is not meant for anything and anyone.
So, What is Luxury Fashion?
Well…simply put, fashion that speaks of legacy, royalty, victories, aspirations, and unimaginable quality is luxury fashion. The quality determines the price of the garment and not the other way around. It is a utopian narrative of clothing and culture that bestows upon its wearer an essence of exclusivity. With the concept being highly valued and specific, it only makes sense to reinterpret what marketing entails for luxury fashion.
Digital marketing is the process of exposing consumers to the goods and services provided by different businesses through digital platforms. The main goal of marketing is to climb up the ranks and increase sales, but this no longer serves a purpose for luxury brands. They are the ideal destination.
Hence, focusing on a niche and a specific clientele who align with the ideals and visuals of the brand is the right approach. This strategy, blended with the perks of the digital revolution, can further expand the horizons of these brands. It is important to focus on staying relevant to continue the legacy of your luxury brand. There are several advantages to digitally marketing luxury.
Brand awareness, expanding the clientele, creative exchange, and increasing sales are just a few of the benefits of marketing. Let us now discuss a few digital marketing strategies that would facilitate luxury fashion brands to stay connected with their clientele. And expand one fashion statement at a time.
Top 10 Digital Marketing Strategies for Luxury Fashion Brands
1. Creation and Optimization of a Website
Reports suggest that by 2023, 60% of the total sales in the luxury industry will be taken over by online sales, and over 90% of shoppers start their shopping online regardless of whether they want to make an in-store or online purchase. A website is intended to reflect and showcase the brand while continuing to engage the consumers and expand the clientele. There are technical and visual elements that need to be optimized for a website.
Technical aspects like site loading speed, user-friendliness, mobile adaptability, and seamless navigation need to be prioritized, among others. Luxury fashion brands need to have a strong visual take on their website, unlike regular clothing brands. Strong visual features that reflect the colours and legacy of the brand, custom and unique online experience that can be deemed parallel if not more enticing than the walk-in-store experience is something to strive towards.
Rich content reflecting the history and take on the most recent collections, celebrity testimonials, and other candid content can be incorporated into the website. Less is more would be the way to exude the elegance and class of your luxury brand. Customizations in both technical and visual aspects mirror the first-class experience that one would expect from a luxury brand.
2. Exclusive mobile applications
One of the main beliefs of luxury brands was that luxury could not be sold online. But with consumers spending an average of 7 hours on the internet, they had to ultimately change that perspective. Online sales of luxury brands are estimated to account for nearly 30% of the overall revenue by 2025.
Luxury fashion brands can collaborate with credible luxury retail apps. Farfetch, Mr Porter, and Net-a-porter are applications that cater to modern, luxury consumers. Consumers from Italy, China, Russia, the US, and the middle east contribute majorly to sales, as reported by these applications.
Luxury fashion brands can also develop their applications. A customized app helps radiate brand values and ethics better than a collaborated adventure. It offers customers a luxury experience. It allows for the establishment of a direct-to-consumer channel that caters to an already narrowed-down pool of consumers. A dynamic app would also allow your business to collect valuable data about customer preferences and reintegrate it better into your business.
A quick and seamless site load and navigation system are of top priority. Visuals and text need to be organized aesthetically, your app should be innovative. A virtual try-on facility with AI integration is ideal. And last but not least, a feature to collect, organize and analyze consumer data is an added advantage. Gucci and Balmain have creatively integrated these aspects into their application to provide a luxurious experience to their consumers.
3. Building on the History and Legacy of Your Luxury Brand
A highly customized and innovative approach is needed to conquer the digital market. 40%-50% of purchases are influenced by online content. Hence, the clear and unique placement of the narrative of the brand on different digital platforms is a clear path to victory. Blending the legacy with the clientele is integral to resonating with the consumers.
For example, Tiffany and Co, a luxury jewellery brand, has a great utopian romantic narrative that is used for marketing its collections and brand. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an eternal reminder of classic elegance with Tiffany jewellery and the black Givenchy dress. Gucci sells the story of pop culture and top celebs. From Lenny Kravitz calling his bedroom “very Gucci” and Harry styles being spotted in a Gucci ensemble ever so frequently, their strategy and their ideal target consumer are evident.
Similarly, once the niche of your brand is recognizable, digital mediums like social media platforms, television shows, and movies can be used as leverage. Strategic segments like YouTube documentaries, Netflix originals, and movies like House of Gucci can be used to spread the story of the brand and forge a loyal fan base.
4. Educating and Aspiring Your Consumers
Luxury brands are specific, focused, and clear on their ideals and principles. And they need to slowly start bringing consumers into this mix by educating them about the brand. Creating content that educates people about their stance and goals as a luxury fashion brand is ideal for connecting with consumers. Using the digital medium to market their brand values is very effective in narrowing down the clientele and also attracting the right consumers.
Stressing on the importance of detail-oriented practices adopted by the brand enlightens consumers about the true definition of luxury. From the manufacturing to the packaging, every little detail is painstakingly perfected to ensure a luxurious shopping experience. This concept is exactly what needs to be marketed to establish loyalty and credibility.
Dior has simple and elegant white and gold luxury packaging and focuses on the pleasure of gifting. Louis Vuitton’s latest packaging, called Imperial saffron, focuses on the intention behind the choice of colour and material and what it entails for the brand. These customizations reflect brand identity and luxury. Another example of a luxury fashion house exuding loyalty and superiority was when Ralph Lauren customized Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ wedding dress. They broke their design policy as they felt they had a part to play in the orchestration of Nick and Priyanka’s romance. These are just a few instances of luxury brands reminding consumers of their brand values and loyalty.
5. Aesthetic and Strategic Social Media Marketing
Marketing for luxury brands is different from your regular brands. They exude elegance, a sense of superiority, and royalty which require different marketing tactics. The marketing strategies revolve around the need to spread brand awareness and weave a beautiful story of the legacy and heritage of the brand rather than generate sales. Social media marketing is the process of communicating to consumers through social media platforms and increasing brand awareness and reach.
4 important criteria need to be factored in a while selecting the channel and creating content for social media. Educate, inspire, promote and entertain. Content designed along these lines will resonate with the consumers and also mirror the ideals and values of your luxury brand.
Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest are 3 important social media platforms that need to be considered for your social media campaigns.
Chanel’s Instagram account is a carefully orchestrated visual treat. It utilizes textures, hues, concepts, visuals, and depth to create an aesthetic collage of powerful storytelling. They display a diverse interpretation of beauty and aesthetics that resonates with a variety of consumers. Louis Vuitton and Burberry often utilize YouTube to drive their message. Video snippets and long-form video content conceptualized aesthetically and innovatively is a great social media marketing tactics. Gucci and Burberry invest in optimizing their Pinterest content with campaigns and product shots to maximize their reach.
6. Search Engine Optimization or SEO
Search engine Optimization helps to increase the viability and awareness of your brand through digital means. Improving the search engine ranking to ensure maximum user engagement through the generation of organic traffic is the ideal goal. SEO for luxury brands is extremely beneficial as organic traffic ensures credibility and subtlety in its approach. It is more transparent and can only be generated with superior quality content and technical skills, which will echo the values of your luxury fashion brand.
The main purpose is not to sell to everyone but to attract the right audience. SEO needs to wedge a connection between your luxury fashion business and consumers of all ages. Relevance and visibility are the keys.
Keywords, long-tail keywords, backlinks, content, and user experience. Keywords are important in search engine ranking. A right balance between brand values and consumer intent needs to be achieved to ensure maximum gains. Long-tail keywords have higher quality conversion rates and hence, despite their role in organic traffic generation, they still need to be prioritized.
Content needs to be engaging, aesthetic, creative, and unique. Backlinks are a tool for communicating to the Google search engine that your luxury brand’s content is credible and trustworthy. Hence, engaging and credible articles and websites need to be linked with your content.
Last but not least, a luxurious user experience. Quick site loading, seamless navigation, customized filters, and extensive and flexible payment and delivery facilities to consumers from all around the world will give a taste of your luxury to consumers. Performing regular and consistent technical and content audits of your website and updating the information and framework is beneficial to your luxury brand, both long and short-term.
Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Balmain, and Burberry have fully optimized their online presence through keyword analysis, content audits, and ad placements. However, Hermès is one such example that is yet to optimize its search ranking. Hermès shares its name with a German food delivery company. This creates confusion as more content is visible for the latter. An updated SEO policy will help prevent such situations from taking form.
7. Influencer Marketing
Over 92% of consumers have reported that they place trust in the content and opinion of digital influencers over other ads. Perhaps that’s why brands have allocated a $15 Billion budget solely for influencer marketing campaigns.
Influencer marketing has been a common marketing tactic in recent years. Influencers are people who have a strong influence on the opinions and preferences of consumers. They have amassed a huge community of superfans on social media platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok with their engaging content.
Influencer marketing is a great way to tap into the potential of their huge following. It also allows the brands to be seen as relevant and in-trend rather than rigid. It shows that your brand is catering to the likes and preferences of your consumers. Approaching this tactic as a partnership rather than sponsorship is integral to achieving superior quality outcomes.
An influencer who can resonate with your clientele and reach out to a wider consumer base is ideal. Approaching the right influencer based on the quality of content and not the number of followers is the way to go. This may result in partnerships with mid-tier and micro-influencers, which is extremely beneficial to your brand in the long run.
Brands like Fendi, Chanel, and Miu Miu have all tapped into the influencer marketing strategy aggressively during the pandemic. Jeffree Star, a YouTuber, influencer, and makeup business giant, is known for endorsing Gucci. He has also actively publicized his privilege of owning custom Gucci luggage which has given major traction to the luxury fashion house. And Louis Vuitton has begun collaborating with millennial and GenZ influencers like Charli D’Amelio and Emma Chamberlain. And Burberry profiting from the social media reach of football legend David Beckham’s son, Brooklyn Beckham is a clear show of the power of influencer marketing.
8. Email Marketing
Email marketing may seem like a path less traversed by luxury fashion brands due to the possibility of deviating from a superior or top-quality experience. But this is hardly the reality. Email marketing is an awesome tactic to reach out to consumers on a one-on-one basis and establish a loyal relationship with them. To make sure that an email marketing campaign is effective, it has to echo the value-based custom experience that one expects from luxury brands.
Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton have their email marketing strategies optimized to facilitate maximum gains. A minimal yet impactful email stating its purpose is the kind of content that will resonate with the niche clientele.
Introducing your consumers to the newsletter sign-up subtly, without bombarding them with flashy banners and sales, is key. Consistent emails regarding new collections, events, fashion weeks, and other engaging information need to be shared regularly. Cart abonnement emails are also considered important and not pushy.
Due to variables like lost connection, card payment failure, and distractions, consumers forget to complete their purchases. In such cases, they even consider such emails helpful. Chanel often sends such emails to remind consumers of unfinished purchases.
Emails and newsletters customized to welcome and congratulate your consumers on their purchase of a subscription are a great way to exude the luxurious care one expects from such brands. Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry have consistently sent personalized emails celebrating and informing the consumers at different stages of their journey.
A visual email rather than a monotonous textual one is a great experience for your consumers. Dolce & Gabbana often sends out aesthetic emails of the latest collections to engage consumers.
9. Strategic and Beneficial Partnership with Other Businesses
Co-branding and partnerships are a great approach to tapping into a wider consumer base. They dilute the risks and losses involved but do not take away the focus and attention that each of the luxury brands gets. Co-branding is a collaborative effort by two or more brands that unite to create one or more innovative products. Both have equal contributions and, therefore, equal rights to the profits earned. Strategic partnerships with similar or completely different luxury brands result in consumer exchange. All brands involved gain insight and access to exclusive clientele which immensely propels their visibility.
Luxury automobile giant Bugatti has collaborated with Hermès, a fashion giant, in the conception and execution of an aesthetically engineered automobile, the Bugatti Veyron FBG Hermès supercar. Hermès has also partnered with Apple in the past for the launch of a special edition Apple watch in 2015. This is a clever tactic to blend Apple’s consumer reach and market with the fashion legacy of Hermès. LG and Prada partnering for a mobile phone, Louis Vuitton and Master & Dynamic customizing a limited edition wireless ears buds, and Google and Yves Saint Laurent designing a smart backpack are just a few of the successful collaborations between brands that have transformed the marketing game.
10. Remarketing and Adapting to Trends
Apart from maintaining their legacy and standards, luxury fashion brands need to continue inspiring and connecting with their audience. Every decade witnesses a new fashion wave. Flower-power 60s, Wide-pants and wild pattern 70s, over-the-top 80s, editorial-chic 90s, y2k era, and finally, 2022, the era of fashion renaissance. With hot trends from every decade making a comeback, it is crucial to market this to the right clientele. Luxury brands are often seen in cameo roles and short glimpses gracing the digital and silver screens. This is a clever marketing tactic that hints at the chameleon-like nature of these brands.
Emily in Paris displays clothing from Chanel, Kenzo, Off-white, Christian Siriano, Stephen Rolland, and Ganni, among many fashion giants. The context and arc of the characters and settings of the show are the perfect platters for these brands to showcase their pieces. Crazy Rich Asians is an embodiment of luxury and finesse. Fashion in this movie helped frame the character arcs and also set the pretext.
Brands like Dior, Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Valentino, Armani, and Elie Saab are just some of the fashion brands that made an appearance on the show. This was a great marketing tactic as the brands are directly targeting the ideal consumers by portraying their clientele on-screen.
Scream Queens is a refreshing and unique slasher-comedy that has fashion in a pivotal role. With the characters named Chanel, after the fashion brand, audiences were excited to see the wardrobe and were pleased beyond expectations. Moschino, Fendi, Chanel, Valentino, and Gucci are just a few luxury brands that make up the entire set’s wardrobe. Again, marketing to the ideal clientele who are likely to envision themselves in their clothing. Other clever brand placements have been witnessed in Devil wears Prada, Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, and Legally Blonde. These films have utilised fashion in developing the character. And luxury fashion houses have utilised films as a direct bridge to communicate with potential consumers.
Several luxury brands have realized the potential of online marketing strategies and hence taken careful steps to dominate the digital domain. They have begun investing in research and implementation of creative and unique digital marketing strategies to maximize their reach and profits. The above-mentioned tactics are just some of the trending and in-demand strategic plays. It is extremely important to blend standard practices with personal nuances for the best outcome.
With trends changing every single day, constant analysis and updates are integral for the long-term success of any business. Luxury marketing has developed into an independent domain that requires experience and skills to yield fruitful results.
With digital technology opening doors to a global audience, luxury fashion brands are yet to dwell deeper into this untapped world of possibilities. These example of brands successfully implementing digital marketing strategies to yield measurable profits is a testament to what lies ahead in the realm of online marketing.