American Marketer


Mobile devices key to luxury brand sales experience: study

October 13, 2010

Mobile devices are key to a luxury brand sales experience


Mobile devices play a key role in luxury brand client experience, according to a study released by the Luxury Institute.

Luxury brands are increasingly creating mobile applications to engage on-the-go consumers. Instead of coming in last on the mobile playing field as they did with Web, luxury brands are eager to be a step ahead.

“In the last year, luxury brands are looking how to change this,” said Milton F. Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute, New York.

“Mobile devices play a major role in the client experience, and can help create a great experience for the sales professional and the customer,” he said.

“We came late to the ecommerce party and we still have Web sites full of flash that the customer can’t navigate. Let’s not miss it with mobile.”

The Luxury Institute works with the top luxury brands to turn their organizational cultures into beneficial, customer-centric ventures.

Luxury on-the-go
The Luxury Institute’s study found that 76 percent of affluent consumers use their mobile devices to compare prices and 27 percent have made a purchase via a mobile device.

Twenty-one percent of consumers have used their mobile phones to look up product information in-store while shopping.

According to the study, luxury brands are lacking primarily in the sales experience.

“We have great products and we may even have great store venues, but the people interactions are lacking,” Mr. Pedraza said. “They are not listening to customers and their needs.

“The customer engagements are in a sorry state,” he said. “The companies recognize that they are not customer-centric.

“They are looking at how to transform their systems and training.”

New track for luxury
Over the next year, many of these enhancements will come by way of mobile devices.

The Luxury Institute predicts more upscale brands will develop mobile applications over the next year and that they will use devices like the iPad to scan business cards or collect customer information without having the sales professionals leave the floor, creating a seamless experience.

They can also guide customers through rich sales presentations, search for out-of-stock inventory within the system, make online transactions and schedule a delivery.

Consumers can also opt-in to have their mobile devices sync with the store’s, allowing sales professionals greet the consumer by name when they enter, creating a more personal feel.

“There will be a tremendous critical mass of activity in 2011 in rebuilding customer experience using technology, but it still requires people,” Mr. Pedraza said. “It’s fantastic for the luxury industry.

“After two years of a recession, the top tier brands finally get it.”

Final Take
Kaitlyn Bonneville, editorial assistant at Luxury Daily, New York