The Digital Agenda


Philippe Barnet | December 23, 2010

A State-of-the-Industry Briefing on E-Commerce and Online Marketing

Gone are the days when luxury brands regarded the digital world with that heady combination of scepticism, incomprehension and occasionally even contempt. In just a few short years, a new era has dawned, one marked by the acknowledgement that the ever-evolving innovations and potentially lucrative opportunities presented by digital channels could prove to be a decisive factor in a luxury brand’s success.

It has been the rise of the digital consumer – those who spend more and more time on their computers and mobile devices and who are also clearly willing to buy luxury goods and services online and who even discuss their favourite brands through social media – which has finally convinced most luxury marketers. In the meantime, brands have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the opportunities and risks offered by digital media, thanks to experts they integrated in their teams or specialists with whom they collaborated.

In fact, 2010 has almost been a tipping point for the luxury industry. It seems more determined than ever before to take advantage of these exciting technologies which are changing the way almost all products and services are marketed and sold. Virtual fashion shows, digital flagship stores, 3D advertising campaigns, augmented reality applications, iPad magazines, Facebook live-streams and Twitter-based customer service are just a few examples of the long list of digital innovations that luxury brands have pioneered this year.

However, putting the enthusiasm of many of these firms to one side, have all luxury purveyors come on board? Are they indeed adopting the right digital marketing tools and techniques? How is digital media impacting business? Where should companies invest? And what can we expect next? In order to understand how the luxury industry is facing up to the digital revolution and what luxury executives have to say, we surveyed our members, talked to digital experts and interviewed CEOs.

This report presents the answers and insightful comments of more than 500 respondents – working in both small companies and multinational conglomerates. It also reveals the views of expert practitioners and strategists and, finally, offers a directory of service providers specialised in digital marketing and e-commerce for luxury brands.

I invite you to join the conversation on as we continue to debate and discuss these critical topics online.

Philippe Barnet