It is going to be a very good Christmas at Burberry, as the company is back on top spot, at least according to L2’s 7th annual Digital IQ Index®, which ‘benchmarks the digital performance of 83 luxury brands in the U.S. examining e-commerce, CRM, search marketing, and social media initiatives.’
What makes Burberry smarter then their competitors and similar businesses?
‘Burberry gets personal’, says L2 – ‘About two-thirds of affluent consumers expect a highly customized experience when shopping for luxury goods. This is particularly relevant to Fashion brands, on which those affluent consumers spent 22% of their luxury budgets in the past year. However, while Fashion labels aim to provide exemplary customer service in stores – such as sales associates that know customers by name and remember their style preferences – L2’s Digital IQ Index®: Fashion finds that only a handful translate that experience online.
Although 71% of Index brand sites let shoppers customize their profiles, most of them only go as far as asking for shoppers’ genders or birthdays. Far fewer seek information that would be useful in creating a fully personalized shopping experience. Just 8% of brands inquire about a shopper’s interests, such as a preference to browse men’s or women’s clothing.
Because so few Fashion brands collect this data, creating a personalized online shopping experience puts those that do ahead of the competition. Burberry.com is the brand’s fastest-growing retail channel, and sales on the brand’s mobile site have tripled since last year, according to Bailey.
“We know our customers move seamlessly between our digital and physical worlds,” he said. “The use of digital technology is a fundamental and integral part of who we are at Burberry and it is central to our brand, our identity and our way of thinking.”’
Who do we have to thank for this? Angela Ahredts, of course.
‘In 2006, Burberry’s former CEO Angela Ahrendts and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey declared that they wanted the brand to become the first fully digital luxury company. Today, digital has become a core component of how Burberry runs its business, and it’s reaping the rewards in a category that has notoriously lagged in digital savviness.
Burberry was early to turn user-generated content into its own social media platform (the Art of the Trench), which it launched in 2009. After that, it has been among the first to test new social media channels and developments: it jumped on Snapchat and Periscope, and tested Instagram’s video ads and Twitter’s buy buttons as they rolled out. At the end of 2014, Burberry upgraded its mobile site, which resulted in its mobile revenue tripling.
Bailey, now CEO as well as chief creative officer (Ahrendts departed in 2014 for a position at Apple), cited digital technology as central to the brand’s way of thinking. For customers, that means they have access to the brand in a way that was previously unheard of in the luxury world. For Burberry, that means treating customers the same way no matter whether they are online, in-store or on mobile.
L2 pointed to the continued investments in both of these displays as reasons why Burberry has forged ahead in digital. That’s noteworthy in the luxury world, which often sees digital as a mass-market that can dilute a prestigious brand, but as L2’s report mentions, the “stark reality for luxury brands is the brand equity that took decades to build does not translate properly online.” (According to Reuters, the whole of the luxury goods market grew only 1-2 percent in September, while Burberry’s revenue was up 11 percent.)’
Ahrendts – as stressed in the article – now works at Apple.
bottom line: ‘The move is an indication of how Ms. Ahrendts, who started at Apple last year, is changing the playbook at some of the iPhone maker’s stores this holiday season and the direction she’s going in: ultraluxe.
Ms. Ahrendts “is shaving off some rough edges and completing our sense that the Apple Store is a premium experience,” said Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw Research.
Ms. Ahrendts was known at Burberry for revitalizing the brand, pushing the fashion house into online retail ahead of other luxury apparel companies and forging alliances with tech companies like Apple, through which she outfitted Burberry’s corporate staff with iPads. Mr. Cook hired her in 2013 to make sure that Apple’s stores would evolve and expand.’
Ms. Ahrendts was the main architect of that massive rebranding operation that made the brand cool again. On chavs, hooligans and the most copied pattern in the world – ‘The Joy of “Burberry”’ ‘In a remarkable feat of reappropriation, Burberry came to symbolise pseudo-luxury counterfeit-couture and working-class heritage. In the same way that London’s Jungle and Garage scene had reclaimed luxury Italian brands like Moschino and Prada in the 90s, or Brooklyn’s Lo Lifes had hijacked preppy Ralph Lauren Polo’s in the late 80s, Burberry too became reappropriated through knocks offs and cheap imitations.’
‘As anyone who has made the mistake of watching Fake Britain will know, high-end couture is intent on clamping down on counterfeit clobber. But no brand is as steadfastly stringent as Burberry. In the attempt to reclaim its lux, opulent image, Burberry has taken “rebranding” to extremes. In a clear attempt to distance itself from the counterfeit, it has been eager to use models that are members of the British aristocracy, such as Kate Middleton and Stella Tennant. And thanks to Mario Testino’s black and white camera, and Kate Moss and Keira Knightley’s ad campaigns, Burberry has bounced back. After all, if you walk into a Burberry store nowadays, there isn’t a nova-check in sight.’
Appnova is a digital agency specialising in web design, UX, eCommerce, branding, digital marketing and social media.
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