Leaders in the $20 billion global luxury market are leveraging the rise of messaging apps to thrive in the conversation economy – leaving laggards without much to say.
High touch service at scale is no longer the purview of the wealthy. 2.5 billion people use messaging apps daily, with projections rising to 3.6 billion by 2018 according to advisory firm Activate.
The good news – luxury brands already understand the value of customer intimacy and proximity. The bad news – smartphones are commoditizing both. Thought leaders like Nordstrom are already a few steps ahead.
Nordstrom’s personal shoppers work closely with the brand’s most exclusive customers. They know their sizes and tastes well, with many talking and texting like old friends. Sensing an opportunity, Nordstrom launched TextStyle in the summer of 2015, a messaging app to strengthen their already strong customer connections.
“The service is part of a push to use technology to preserve the close relationships Nordstrom sales associates cultivate with individual customers.” – Nordstrom CIO, Dan Little
Digital already influences three out of four luxury purchases and will soon impact 99% of sales, according to McKinsey and Business of Fashion.
Everlane was one of the first luxury brands to team up with Messenger to deliver customer service and track shipments and returns. Approximately 200 request come in daily, handled by 1-2 employees according to Frerk-Malte Feller, leading Business on Messenger at Facebook.
Yacht Harbour is another Watson powered platform that brings artificial intelligence to high-end vessel sales. Personified via “Brook” (i.e. Siri for yachts), this Yacht Harbor AI helps buyers navigate the daunting vessel purchase journey. An enhancement likely to bring a shorter sales cycle and higher margins.
According to L2, a leading digital benchmarking firm, 80% of future growth in the luxury category is tied to digital – giving early leaders a strong advantage in growing market share and deepening loyalty.
Some of the old guard luxury brands may have missed web 1.0, or even the social wave, but those ignoring messaging as a platform to better serve customers risk being left out of the conversation.