In the past, luxury brands have relied on traditional marketing channels such as print and direct mail to engage their high-value audiences. Additionally, the industry has placed an enormous focus on the in-store experience, as an opportunity to differentiate through enhanced service, upscale decor, and personalization. Given this history, it is understandable that luxury brands have largely trailed other verticals in adopting true digital strategies, hesitant to cede control of their messaging. In fact, according to Bain & Company, 40 percent of high-end brands still do not sell via the Web.
Recently, Paul Vallois, managing partner at Cocoon London wrote about the emerging value of digital in an article for Luxury Daily. In it, he lays out a case for intelligent digital strategy that will allow luxury brands to retain the high-end personality while still taking advantage of digital channels to engage and convert. A few of the ideas that resonated with us most included:
- 58 percent of consumers feel that online shopping lacks the personalized attention they would receive when visiting a physical store. [Salesfloor’s 2016 Omnichannel Retail Associate Study]
- Creating rich, high-quality content is the key to achieving a luxury digital experience.
- By 2025, the online share of total luxury sales is expected to triple to 18 percent, worth a massive €70 billion annually. [McKinsey & Co]
At Olapic, we’ve worked with many luxury retailers and hotels to create more impactful, authentic, and personalized digital marketing experiences. How? We help brands collect, activate, and analyze the high-quality visual content their customers are sharing on social platforms. For instance, on Instagram alone, there are over 95 million photos shared daily. Often times, luxury brands are able to use this “earned” content to create shoppable experiences, fill digital channels, and perhaps most importantly, personalize at scale.
Here are a few of our favorite luxury brands that have used consumers’ content to translate high-end experiences online and drive real revenue as a result:
Tacori, known for producing intricately crafted artisan jewelry, has created a unique gallery on the brand’s site, seamlessly integrating consumer-generated content with brand-owned content. Tacori has also done an exceptional job of guiding its audience to create truly on-brand visual content. Many luxury brands hesitate to adopt consumer-generated content into their programs, unsure of whether customers are able to generate imagery that meets their high quality standards. Tacori is an excellent example that proves the impact of welcoming customers into the marketing process.
Kate Somerville, the clinical skincare brand, was looking for an efficient way to increase the volume of photos shared by its social community, as well as showcase these consumer photos on the website alongside brand content. Using an earned content program, Kate Somerville experienced a 25% increase in sales generated from Olapic-powered widgets, a 2X conversion rate increase when consumers engaged with UGC on-site, and a 15.8% returning visitor interaction rate, which is 5% above the Olapic Beauty Vertical Benchmark.
Even though Lancôme was an early online pioneer, the brand found it challenging to weave brand-owned and customer content into a consistent online experience. After implementing a strategy for consumers’ content, Lancôme experienced an overall 4% conversion uplift, and through syndication deals with Macy’s and Ulta, extended the value of these images on high-traffic retailer sites, leading to significant increases in revenue.
AllSaints, the British fashion retailer, was looking to reach new audiences and engage existing customers in a more impactful way. The brand was also interested in learning how global consumers were styling some of its most iconic pieces and incorporating the latest collection into their fashion choices. As such, the brand collaborated with Olapic to launch a global earned content campaign through which customers were invited to share their personalized AllSaints identity with the unique hashtag #ItsUpToYou. Six weeks after launch, AllSaints experienced incredible results. The brand’s promotional video reached 11 million views, the influencer network brought 323,000 interactions, and the campaign reached 17 million people, organically. During this period, 66,000 users visited the website gallery, 48,000 of which were brand new. Additionally, 82% of all gallery visitors returned to allsaints.com. Furthermore, the volume of website visitors surpassed all expectations, and this engagement led to direct revenue, with £12,000 in sales generated by those who interacted with the user-generated content on the gallery page.
AllSaints is a great example of one of the most compelling elements of an earned content campaign: a scalable insights engine. By analyzing customers’ content, luxury brands are able to identify trends and product usage that otherwise might not be apparent. From there, they can adjust their strategies in online messaging, and even across print, direct mail, and in-store.
Ultimately, luxury brands are reaching a critical moment, where they must either adapt intelligently or risk losing ground to an increasing set of global competition. By using customer content, there is a unique opportunity to increase engagement and conversion, without sacrificing the level of personalized service that is expected of these brands.