I just saw this video "Why stores still matter in an online world" on the website of the International University of Monaco, which offers degrees in luxury. I strongly believe that brick and mortars will survive in the new digital age because there are many reasons why physical shops are important. There is also an illusion that e-commerce businesses are easy to manage, and they would make shops disappear. In my future vision drones will be used to deliver products in cities but they will be sent from shops, hence, shops will survive. But this vision has its risks because regulation can disrupt the whole vision. Currently, over 90 per cent of shopping happens in physical stores, and under 10 per cent happens online. Hence, shoppers prefer physical experiences.
Shops are the best places to give great customer experiences. Luxury brands are known for their design stores, which have used world-class interior designers, and interiors have been designed from high-class materials. Shops are also located in highly valued locations, mainly in high streets. Many researchers say that luxury consumers tend to browse online but they mainly purchase products from shops.
The reason behind this phenomenon is very simple, consumers want to receive the whole buying experience. From this point of view, it is easy to say that shops will survive but luxury brands should be little paranoid of the digital age. Hence, they should make shop experiences even better. Yes, this can be done by enhancing the interior design, selling the newest products and giving high-class customer service.
Still, there should be something more. Luxury consumers are not just buying products or services. They are joining a club or a society. Customers should be treated like members, not as customers. Even though some customers have only consumed a small amount of money, still, they are at the beginning of their membership journey. Think about a beautiful lady who has travelled to Monte Carlo from another country. She has been dreaming of Monte Carlo for the whole winter. One of her passions is to visit Chanel's boutique every single time and to purchase the newest creations. She is not a customer, she is a member of the society, and should be treated as such.
Luxury brands are very powerful when they can deliver unique experiences. Shops are not going to disappear because shops are the only places, which can deliver true customer experiences. Still, shops have to have clever digital strategies to keep in touch with their members.
Published in Luxury Sales Academy.