Research highlights importance of online experience for luxury retailers

16 November 2020.

Research highlights importance of online experience for luxury retailers

Luxury brands and retailers are rightly proud of their physical stores. Often based in some of the most sought-after postcodes in major cities across the globe, the sense of exclusivity is a big reason for their continued success.

The Covid-19 pandemic wrought havoc across the luxury retail market. A lack of tourism – and footfall more generally – turned these stores into white elephants.

In turn, high-end shoppers were forced online, which is not always where luxury brands and retailers are at their strongest. They fear a lack of exclusivity in the online free-for-all.

Ploughing considerable resources into making in-store experience the best it can be, the website became something of an afterthought. To understand how the attitudes have shifted since the pandemic began, we commissioned an independent survey 1,000 luxury shoppers, with some fascinating results that brands and retailers would do well to heed.

According to the poll, 66% are more comfortable purchasing high-end items online than before the pandemic. Yet the overwhelming majority (90%) believe luxury brands and retailers fall behind their High Street counterparts for the online experience they give shoppers.

What this tells us is that luxury brands and retailers haven’t quite moved with the times. But with the pandemic accelerating the move online by high-end shoppers, this is something they can ill afford.

The reasons behind this are clear. Almost three quarters (72%) said the online experience falls behind the ‘prestige’ of physical stores. At face value this would appear to confirm the fears of luxury brands and retailers.

The solution, therefore, is to build a digital experience that offers a sense of exclusivity, that ‘wows’ customers and convinces them to buy high end watches, furniture or appliances online.

It is here that Augmented Reality has come to the rescue. Pioneering AR technology, which allows shoppers to experience products in their own space (as if they were physically there), quite literally has the power to change the way people shop.

When asking a consumer to part with what could be tens of thousands of pounds, poor imagery and product information simply won’t work. The advent of new technologies such as AR is improving the online experience and helping luxury retailers to deliver high-quality, engaging online experiences for customers.

We know that AR increases online conversions by 250%, with AR experiences deliver more than twice the levels of engagement. The business case, therefore, to integrate such technologies is clear.

We recently partnered with Bremont Watch Company to deliver leading AR solutions to one of the world’s finest watch makers.

For some time we have appreciated the theoretical value that AR can bring to our customers online experiences. Pleasingly London Dynamics were able to match the quality and attention to detail that we put into our products to help bring this experience to life.

Chris Reynolds, Managing Director at Bremont.

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