On 21 May, the Netcomm Suisse Observatory organised its fourth Executive Workshop for 2019. The theme of the workshop was on how brands can communicate a premium and luxury experience on digital channels. The half-day session attended by 15 senior managers and executives from Swiss-based companies and brands in the luxury and premium segment, such as La Prairie, MSC Cruises, Timex Group, Breitling, House of Grauer, Goldavenue, and Mooris. The agenda featured case studies from Jakala Group, Mooris and Breitling. We would like to thank our sponsors BFK Digital and Jakala Group for their support of this workshop and Goldavenue for hosting us.
The luxury sector was for a long time reluctant to adapt to digital channels as these channels are open to a broad audience which would be perceived as a compromise on the exclusivity of the Maisons. However, in the last years, luxury brands saw a push towards digital as consumers are expecting them to be there. Online is the fastest growing sales channel with a CAGR of 22% (Bain & Co).
The workshop started with a presentation from Paolo Pedersoli, Partner at Jakala, our sponsor, on their Omni-personal contact strategy. The need for the strategy is a requirement, as being online is not enough anymore today. Instead, a personal recognition across the three phases of Acquisition, Conversion and Retention is needed to meet individual requirements.
For some luxury consumers, the experience of being delighted in a physical store still plays an important role. Especially for personalised products and made-to-measure fashion items, brick-and-mortar stores are important touchpoints. While online is a growth driver, offline is important for building up relationships and for creating a brand. An Omni-personal contact strategy is taking both physical and digital enablers into account and offers a coherent experience across all different touch points. Jakala offers an application that helps sales associates to increase their potential for both selling ceremony and clienteling.
Learn more about Jakala’s services for luxury brands here.
The second case study was presented by Claudio Beffa, CTO at our member Mooris.ch. The e-Commerce platform for design furniture started 3 years ago as a pure online player and is today renting studios and apartments in Zurich, Bern and Basel to use them as showrooms. These showrooms are very important for being locally present and for building up trust.
Claudio was sharing his view on “luxury is personal”, a slogan used by Park Hyatt. People have different preferences when it comes to communication channels and these preferences are saved in the CRM to enable a personalised experience. In its communication and in the design of the website, Mooris is following the credo of “be a human”. All direct communication to customers happens by using the first name and the German informal ‘Du’-form. On the design side, all consultants are using a personal profile picture which has a proven strong positive influence on sales. The company is further offering human-operated chat support on all parts on its platform. This way, Mooris is able to build up relationships and trust with customers through digital channels.
The in-house creation of platform content plays an important role as Mooris wants to control the quality and to present unique content. This strategy also means that the team is taking own pictures of each product instead of using stock pictures.
In the future, the platform will contain more content by using videos and blog posts that will all be produced in-house. Increased data quality will also play a key role for a better understanding of the customers and for supporting the decision-making process.
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Last, we had the pleasure of having Antonio Carriero CDO & CTO from Breilting with us sharing insights about the Grenchen-based watch manufacturer’s journey on digital sales. From Antonio’s point of view, “replicating the selling ceremony on digital channels is not feasible”. Brands need to adapt and adopt the code to the essentials of digital channels. Digital does not need to replace the exclusivity of brick and mortar stores, but it must create something that did not exist before. Taking a look at Uber, one can see that the company did transform something but did not replicate anything. The app developed a new mobility experience.
Breitling is investing actively in its presence on platforms in China. The brand is present on both TMALL Flagship Store and Luxury Pavilion. The next step in the Alibaba ecosystem will be a collaboration with the travel platform Figgy: After a user has completed a booking, they will be targeted by TMALL Flagship Stores and can complete the order online. After his arrival, he can pick up the order in-store and complete the payment on the side.
Internally, the digital transformation brings some challenges across the whole organisation. A key to its success is the support of a strong HR department making the organisation an instrument for change and not a blocker. The implementation and application of digital technologies require further new skills and new jobs with new roles. On the finance side, people still focus on CAPEX rather than on OPEX. Finally, in marketing, decisions need to be data-driven instead of being based on a gut-feel.
As next steps, Breitling will put a strong focus on online to offline. Breitling will be introducing an inclusive bot, a chatbot that is more user-friendly than one where the customers have to click on predefined buttons. This bot is critical for offering a more time-efficient search experience to the customers. Breitling will also put a strong focus on customer data collected across different sources. For understanding the customer needs and offering a relevant experience, it will be important that the data is de-anonymised.
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The Netcomm Suisse Observatory is organising a series of Executive Workshops where an invitation-only audience of senior managers, business executives and entrepreneurs are sharing their knowledge. The next workshop is dedicated to B2B (26 September in Geneva).
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