In late October, industry leaders and lone innovators from a wealth of luxury companies gathered at Luxury Interactive Europe 2015 to discuss the complexities of the online environment and big data in all its myriad forms, from social media to multimedia.
Organized by Worldwide Business Research LLC, the three-day event in London featured a varied range of speakers accessible via informative panels, workshops, case study presentations, roundtables, and networking sessions.
The most singularly memorable take-home from this conference was that content leads to commerce and the leaders in the luxury race are those who can apply exceptional content in creatively integrated ways. Content is as simple as images and data—however, according to Cassandra Bergsland, the head of website merchandising at Net-a-Porter, “the challenge is to balance this relationship in order to drive sales.” It starts with the homepage and a dedicated drive to commercialize and evolve content.
When it comes to digital marketing in China, Perrine Corvaiser, chief digital officer of Maison Ullens, noted that “every company, without question, should be using a WeChat account to leverage business in China’s growing retail landscape.”
Instagram was another major topic of discussion at the even. While its use in China is limited, it has emerged as a vital tool of engagement globally for luxury brands because it builds brand awareness among online audiences and allows brands to consider these new dialogues and potential customers in real time. Farfetch Global Head of Online Communications and Social Media Rachel Wallar took us though the do’s and don’ts of the online image-sharing platform. Her advice is always have a unique point of view and underpin with emotion. She also held a roundtable discussion sharing how companies can best utilize this latest web trend to increase global reach.
What was also pertinent for many attendees was how to cope with growing globally. GANT Global Head of E-Commerce Kieran Clinton-Tarestad tackled this by outlining what models to use when collaborating with new international partners to achieve this end. He asked, “Does online become a shared relationship between brand owner and local partner?” which is particularly relevant for China, which requires joint partners for foreign brands.
Alison Conway, the client and omnichannel VP from Belstaff gave an insightful presentation on the evolution of this outerwear luxury brand, citing how through data research it came to “better understand its customer” and engage new audiences. They are targeting the online consumer in particular with personal shopping and “meet the designer” events, as well as by utilizing geographic locations to promote particular products.
As the conference broke into different sessions, Shannon Edwards, CEO of Styloko, posed the question “Is the dominance of mobile actually helping the consumer? While the concept of the “endless aisle” is engaging consumers, it often only leads to endless browsing rather than real purchasing.
While mobile use in China is a given, Sarah Macaulay, the global marketing manager of William Grant & Sons, kept it simple: “It is necessary to think about the company you want to keep… as well as to build the elements of tradition into your future vision to navigate in the international luxury market.”
Gemma Williams is the author of Fashion China.