Mapping the customer’s path online is the key to a successful business. BCG, Boston Consulting Group, a renowned management consulting firm, recently released a report called Digital or Die: The Choice for Luxury Brands, warning luxury brands that their future prospects at survival look grim unless they learn how to master the omnichannel customer experience.
Think of omnichannel as a strategy meant to seamlessly and effortlessly join together the customer with its intended product. Retails, government, healthcare, social media, and even Wall Street is using the model. And, unless household names in the fashion world follow the Cloud and position themselves in that bountiful rain of online demand and supply, they might experience a long and painful drought season.
Omnichannel Customer Experience – An Empire Built on the Ruins of the Brick and Mortar Retail Empire
Upscale shopping boulevards may now have moved their expansion strategies into the digital world, but there once was a time when retail existed in the physical and quantifiable world. Customers would rely either on brick and mortar stores or on catalogs for their purchases.
If the latter was the case, a woman in the 1990s would only have to dial a ten-digit number to place an order for a Julia Child cooking book or a Coco Channel black sequin jacket. Or both, if she were aiming at making dinner in couture style.
Skipping back in time, we see a Welsh flannel opening the trend of ordering by mail. British businessman Pryce Pryce-Jones was the first to introduce the method in 1861. Customers worldwide became hungry for more. Sears&Roebuck issued their first product catalog 7 years later, while the turn of the century saw L.L. Bean ship the idea over the Atlantic and into the United States.
The rest, as they say, is history. Amazon.com, Best Buy, and mobile commerce rapidly took hold of an ever growing market. By the beginning of the 2000s, multichannel retailing was the new buzz in town.
Omnichannel became an umbrella term for the multiple shopping avenues that see customers switch lanes from the Fifth Avenue Sacks brick-and-mortar to the online website to their smartphone app. Rush hour is a constant on the omnichannel highway. And, to continue with the metaphor, luxury brands need to carve an opening into the flux from the side street where they remained stationed for much too long.
The Demands of a New Generation of Luxury Shoppers Are Met in Omnichannel
Has the internet been one of those tech innovations that disrupted traditional business models? Of course, it changed the name of the game. The speed at which it proliferated itself made old tactics obsolete.
However, in a global world striving to grow with limited resources, there is one that’s universally in demand: time. There’s a reason the omnichannel experience is in such high demand. It saves time.
BCG’s report found that most millennials, for instance, will not necessarily invest all their expectations in e-commerce alone. On the contrary, 41% of luxury customers only research for their items online and end up buying them offline. Other 9% use the reverse method. Surprising figures also turned out when the report delved into the shopping behavior of nations usually associated with haute-couture and fashion. In Italy and France, for instance, shoppers are still crossing the conventional store threshold.
All in all, what are the demands of the newly emerging class of luxury shoppers? Some say integrated delivery services. Others would be pleasantly surprised if a brand image scored high in consistency. If high fashion companies want to decrypt the future of the digital world, they should first become proficient in the complicated language of omnichannel customer experience.