COVID has driven a fundamental change in consumer shopping behavior over the last year. Customers now expect different types of experiences, particularly when it comes to luxury brands. They’re looking for more engagement, digitally curated events and social media-fueled, branded storytelling.
Tech savvy and affluent Generation Z and millennials are a crucial audience for luxury brands. These high-end consumers have access to state-of-the-art technology, the latest top dollar smartphones and giant 4K TV screens in their homes, as well as access to superfast broadband. All this lends itself well to an enhanced digital offering when it comes to luxury.
As such, digital should now be the foundational bedrock for any luxury experience. But this means that brands must rethink how they operate. Tacking on a digital channel to the main business is no longer an option — numerous COVID-induced lockdowns have exposed the perils of such a strategy. It’s those brands that blend the physical and digital experience seamlessly that will thrive, and a strong digital content strategy is a key piece of this.
When it comes to engaging consumers and driving conversions, the following digital content components — and their benefits — should be key considerations for luxury brands:
Engaging Content Wins Customers’ Hearts
The right lifestyle, images of models and sharp, inspiring photography enhances product detail pages. A lot can be achieved when brands display the right content at the right time for the customer with a personalized and targeted approach. If brands add dynamic content, video and social proofing within the product pages, conversion rates can double and lower a brand’s return rates.
Create a Buzz About New Products and Limited Editions
Product categories are expanding all the time. Continuous consumer engagement involves luxury brands launching new categories of products within a collection frequently. At the same time, more brands are allowing customers to pre-order products months before they can be shipped to customers. Creating a buzz around this process is vital. Utilizing exclusive limited editions is a great tool for the luxury sector.
This can sometimes involve strategic collaborations with other partner brands or celebrities. Creating a continuous cycle of hype and valuable social media content is a core part of the luxury sector’s attraction. The power of this process should not be underestimated.
Manage Product Content Properly
A single digitized view of product details is needed across the business; therefore, the management of product content is essential. The continuation of manual inputs from master spreadsheets that are shared between different teams can lead to a multitude of incorrect content being uploaded to a website and within product shopping feeds.
Missing product information, incorrect details of sizes, obscure uses of color, poor spelling and incorrect materials used in designs are just some of the mistakes that can occur with poor content management.
There can also be an issue with tracking product changes that occur from the initial sample stage to signed-off products. When incorrect details are listed online, it can impact the customer experience significantly and lead to an increase in returns, the reason given being “product not as described.” Managing product content carefully and methodically is crucial.
Product Tagging and Taxonomies Need More Focus
Category taxonomies and filtering can be painful to manage internally. They are complicated yet essential to get right because they define a brand’s product catalog, as well as how customers search and reference what they see on screen. Businesses must make sure they check and refine how products are searched for. Brands want to avoid searches showing different sets of products for similar customer searches. This can occur with poor manual tagging and can lead to a sub-standard customer experience and lost sales. It can also cause issues for SEO and rankings.
Brands must make sure that filters, product taxonomies and tagging are set up correctly. A systematic and thorough approach is needed. This requires excellent data and content management. Brands need to match customer searches with categories and dynamic content, providing a wide range of choice. This allows for a more enhanced customer engagement. It is also worth creating destination landing pages with relevant dynamic content. This must engage the customer and show products that they would expect — and it has to be intuitive as well.
Review How Customers Navigate Websites
The homepage is not necessarily the most important page of the experience when it comes to generating actual sales. However, many brands still spend the majority of their time adding content to this page, especially below the fold, which is hardly seen by consumers.
The big question to ask is whether potential customers are converting at the same or differing rates. This depends on the issues above. There can also be challenges with the experience on certain devices or browser versions. Understanding how customers navigate a site helps brands optimize webpages, reduces any friction to purchase and increases conversion rates.
Right now it has never been easier to see what customers are doing online, and utilizing this data to make customer experiences friction-free at scale is important. The focus should be on putting the customer first across all types of devices they may be using.
Digital needs to be at the center of a brand’s operating model. It will allow luxury brands to have a competitive advantage and strengthen their hand for an omnichannel, digital-first new normal. This is the blueprint for the future of luxury, and an effective digital content strategy is a must for success.
James Brooke is the Founder and CEO of Amplience, an API-first, headless content management platform for enterprise retail.