Viva Technology: The Future of Luxury Retail

Recently, Narvar was invited to present at the LVMH Luxury Lab, a selective luxury-sector showcase at the inaugural Viva Technology 2016 expo in Paris, France. Celebrating the digital transformation of the global economy, Viva Technology brought over 800 startups together with industry giants and investors. Over three days, LVMH, Narvar and over 40 other luxury-sector startups explored the future of luxury retail in the digital world.

In the past, luxury retail faced many challenges creating an online presence. Luxury consumers’ high expectations for service, coupled with the products’ high value and complex appeal never translated well to yesterday’s cluttered web pages. Even with a technologically-savvy marketing presence online, limited capabilities in CRM and supply-chain management meant sub-par post-purchase experiences for luxury’s discerning customers.

Today, however, new technologies are converging. Luxury customers are now the most well-connected customers in the world, experienced at researching online before buying products (often of high value). The pervasive mobile devices they own, with high-bandwidth connections, allow for immersive and targeted communications. Sophisticated customer tracking software and powerful data transformations can now generate precise profiles of customer behavior from a vast array of inputs, allowing retailers to provide truly personalized experiences. The explosion of rapid shipping options, on-demand transportation, and soon autonomous delivery will quickly remove any remaining barriers between the digital and physical worlds.

Just as technology begins to weave consumers’ digital lives more closely into their physical lives via their smartphones and unlimited data, luxury brands must also adapt to this omni-channel environment.

First, brands must recreate an elevated, authentic and targeted experience online. Luxury brands have long excelled at projecting a premium image, but modern customers desire to be included in this image. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook bring customers beyond traditional campaigns, creating rapport while giving the brand valuable data and targeting capabilities.

Next, the right data can then be used to personalize these experiences and make them relevant to each connected consumer. Timing is everything – today’s customers are inundated with communication noise. Data can help retailers time and customize content based on consumer’s mindset, or even anticipate their next needs. Presenting the customer with easy and relevant action, from booking a store appointment or making a one-click mobile purchase, will keep them engaged.

Finally, retailers must extend this personalization into the physical store. Equipped with tablets and smart apps, a retail associate can establish an immediate personal relationship with a brand-new customer simply by reviewing a few timely details about the appointment they made online or the return they just initiated.

LVMH’s large presence at Viva Technology is a clear signal that the luxury industry is ready to commit to digital innovation and emerging technologies. Here at Narvar, we’re excited to be building the next generation of tools helping retailers seamlessly merge their digital and physical experiences.