The online luxury consumer is an incredibly valuable yet challenging customer.
How does your brand stand out and perfect online luxury retailing for this audience? Among a sea of websites, luxury and mainstream, that look and feel the same, how do you differentiate yourself?
To answer this question, let’s think of a luxury brand – let’s say Gucci.
You have to think about the differences between the customer service in a Gucci physical storefront versus that of a mid-tier physical store, like Forever 21.
At Gucci, the sales representative will recognize you, greet you by name and welcome you back.
They’ll offer you refreshments, and refer to your last purchase to ask how you enjoyed it. They will take the time to walk through the store with you and recommend items based on your preference.
In other words, they’ll be hyper-sensitive to your mood and other various cues that let them know how best to engage with you.
At a non-luxury chain store, you won’t receive service unless you seek it out.
The busy sales associate will rush to quickly answer your question and move on. If you are annoyed or frustrated, don’t expect any understanding or empathy.
All types of technologies old and new, are aspiring to translate the luxury brick and mortar experience to the digital sphere.
Luxury brands like Gucci and Valentino are using AI and live chatbots to mimic this very personal and personable touch that luxury shoppers are accustomed to.
And the proof is in the pudding – recent studies found that customers that were engaged through web chat are 4.73 times more likely to convert, and online customers who chat with someone spend 62% more than those who are not engaged.
How do these technologies help brand managers perfect the experience to attract or retain high-end customers?
The most obvious benefit of new tech is speed.
A typical customer hates being put on hold or receiving an auto-response from an email ticketing system.
For a luxury brand customer this can push them to give up completely.
That moment is precious for the brand, particularly if the customer is seeking to make a purchase.
Live chat and chatbots provide a quick response system, where luxury customers get the help they need in real time, at a critical moment in their purchasing journey.
It shows them that you and your customer support team cares enough to invest in providing them with the best possible experience.
No one will wait for a support email that arrives 24-48 hours after browsing. The sale opportunity will simply be gone.
If a customer is looking for a specific item or has very specific questions and can’t find the answers easily on your website, their first instinct will be to look on another brand’s website.
That is, unless the customer agent is available and proactively engages with the customer to find the answer to their question or guide them towards the specific product they’re seeking.
Prompting customers with an AI-powered chatbot, and following up immediately with a live, knowledgeable person via live chat – someone who has been watching the interaction from behind the scenes and understands the customer’s needs in that moment – stops this customer from seeking an answer on your competitor’s website.
What’s more, there’s nothing worse than a customer service rep asking a customer to repeat their request yet again.
When a customer stumbles onto the website without any intention to buy, agents can proactively engage with them to greet them and inquire about their previous purchases just as a salesperson at a brick and mortar store might do.
What’s more, for luxury brands like Valentino and Gucci, an AI system that allows your online customer reps to have access to a customer’s browsing history on the site, or know what’s in their shopping basket helps them suggest add-ons or present special deals, making your customer feel like the experience has been especially tailored to them.
What this old and new technology delivers at the end of the day is a complete deviation from mainstream experiences: closer connections to customers, a personalized white-glove approach that makes them feel like they are browsing inside the brick and mortar store, with their own personal shopper.
This only results in higher conversion to purchase and an increase in retention and aspiration and a clear bump to your brand’s bottom line.
Hadar Paz is CEO and Co-Founder of Powerfront, which is behind INSIDE, an AI-powered live chat and messaging solution tailored specifically for luxury brands.
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