7 Digital Innovations for Luxury Brands


Daniela Aroche | June 05, 2015

Luxury brands must innovate or die in the digital age. Here we share seven innovations that might help luxury brands enhance their digital transformation.

Luxury brands must innovate or die in the digital age. Here we share seven innovations that might help luxury brands enhance their digital transformation.

In saying that, the turning tide in which we are all stakeholders also provides infinite opportunities for luxury brands in particular to up their game, captivate new consumers and ultimately grow and boost their business to the next level.

The key to this, without doubt, is innovation in all its forms. Innovative strategies, products and communications have the unbridled ability to foster loyalty, build brand value, encourage and alter purchasing behaviours – and even, engage the increasingly jaded millennials set which are becoming today’s early adopters and influencers.

“ Brands must give consumers what they want, before they know they want it ”

“Innovation captures consumer interest and attention, attracting both new customers and faithful loyalists. It can provide retailers with an edge in five major shopper-need categories: convenience, choice or assortment, shopability, price-value, and brand equity,” as global market intelligence firm Nielsen puts it.

However, it’s not just a one-off commitment and, as we’ve seen from once prevalent innovators who have slowly but surely dropped off into obscurity – MySpace, is a case in point. A mere dip into innovation won’t cut it in this market – continuity and the ability to constantly surprise and delight is the only thing that will safeguard relevancy for brands across spectrums.

Brands must give consumers what they want, before they know they want it, and execute their innovative strategies seamlessly.

“ These entrepreneurs embody a new vision of the working world ”

This extends not just to the new up-and-comers, but to all – even age-old brands with enviable legacies will be under fire if they don’t step up. But if they do there are copious gains to be made, as highlighted by Leslie Pascaud, Executive VP of Purpose Branding and Innovation from leading global strategic marketing consultancy Added Value as part of the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands Report.

“Traditional brands with a ‘start-up mentality gain cultural traction,” she says. “These entrepreneurs embody a new vision of the working world: fast but flexible living, casual dress, innovative thinking and a commitment to do no evil. They are seen as more visionary, more inspiring, bolder and more exciting; qualities that serve as strong predictors of future brand growth,” she said.

In today’s world, it’s a no-brainer – innovation is the future. However, the disclaimer is that it can also be a double-edged sword if it’s not done right. To that effect, here, we present a snapshot of seven luxury industry leaders who have mastered the art of thinking outside the square – and their latest projects. The time to create exceptional products and services through innovation is now.

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.LUXURY, A Verified, Trusted Top Level Domain

The entire strategy behind .Luxury, the brainchild of Monica Kirchner and her business partner Kirsten Hansen, was borne from out-of-the-box thinking and geared towards innovative enterprises. .Luxury is the new, generic top level domain (gTLD) dedicated to providing a trusted digital platform for all things luxury, designed to meet the distinct needs of the luxury industry.

Kirchner’s foresight tells her that within five to 10 years, consumers and brands will have evolved to use the Internet in new ways – including to set themselves apart. Monica envisions dot-luxury as being part of a new future where brands will have specialised ways to speak to their very best consumers beyond their basic dot-com websites, which are—like it or not—open to the smartphone-wielding masses.

Inception took an idea, a 200-300 page application and an application fee of $185,000 – but fast forward, and the rush for dot-luxury domain names has already begun, as forward-thinking luxury providers seek to differentiate themselves in the cyber sea.

It’s still just the beginning, but, as Kirchner has told media previously: “We have a long-time view and a passion for what we’re trying to do”. That fire and future vision is precisely what makes this a pioneering business.

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Could this be the death of the QR code? Arjowiggins have created an innovative, practical and powerful product that instantly connects printed marketing materials with technology. It’s PowerCoat™ series represents a revolution of the smart paper variety, linking patented technology with an incredibly smooth, highly sustainable electronics substrate.

Taking technology to the next level, Arjowiggins has integrated Near Field Communications (NFC) into printed materials making its product the perfect playground for advertising media, interactive displays, product labeling and packaging, security, the list goes on.

In a nutshell – NFC uses small radio frequency tags that are affixed to a printed piece. Once an NFC-enabled device (such as a smartphone) is tapped or waved within 1″ of the print product, an interaction is automatically initiated. It can send you to a website, play an audio or video clip, bring up a list of stats—anything. No downloading an app or scanning a QR code, no typing in a complicated URL—the multimedia experience is encoded in the tag itself.

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EDITD, The Right Product & Price At The Right Time

Editd is the market leader in real-time analytics of pricing, assortment and deep product metrics for apparel professionals. They run the world’s biggest apparel data warehouse and they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to insights.

The premise is that in a few quick clicks, they drill down and you get a refreshingly frank view of the market and product and how it all intersects, mined from data gathered using a combination of web crawlers, social media, designer runway reports, blogs covering trends and information provided by retailers.

As reported by Forbes magazine, the company’s dataset includes no fewer than 53 billion data points on the fashion industry dating back more than four years. It covers more than 1,000 retailers around the globe and boasts 15 million high-resolution images. Its Social Monitor feature, an aggregated dashboard of social activity by fashion influencers and experts, includes more than 800,000 people.

This very information then helps retailers deliver the right products at the right price and the right time, and – as Watts has previously said: “That’s the kingmaking thing in retail. When you get that right, it unlocks a fortune.” Indeed. In 2014, online fashion empire Asos – one of Editd’s first customers – attributed a 33% sales increase in the last quarter of 2013 to its data insights, which helped structure Asos’s pricing competitively.

Other Editd clients include Gap, Gilt Groupe, Harvey Nichols and Debenhams.

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LYST.COM, The Personalized Universal Shopping Cart isn’t just an online shopping portal – it’s a digital destination. Not only does the site bring together a variety of fashion products – over one million items from 9,000 different brands, boutiques and retailers in one universal shopping cart – but it’s also personalized to each individual user. And we all know that customization is where it’s at for consumer enagagement.

“Based on the brands you follow, the products you “lyst” and your browsing habits, we customize a site experience that brings together fashion from across the web into a fashion experience that is made just for you,” explains Chondita Chatterjee, Senior Vice President.

Innovative as it already is, Chatterjee and the rest of the team behind the curtain like to set a pace, and Lyst has since introduced a brand-new streamlined site that features content from editors, retailers and brands alike. Updating its app with some of the great iOS8 features has already made its mobile offering elite, but as important as that platform is for Lyst, innovations offline are expected to become a key focus for the company.

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REWARD STYLE, Monetizing Key Opinion Leaders

rewardStyle has built a suite of tools that allow top tier style publishers to monetize their entire digital brand. Investing in bloggers, particularly in fashion, might have seemed a long-shot a few years ago, but again – innovative thinking prevailed, in this case from rewardsStyle founders Amber Venz and Baxter Box, and the payoff for a fresh take has been significant for this young, entrepreneurial duo.

Within the first six months, the company signed luxury retail empire Net-A-Porter. Stores including Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Top Shop soon followed. Brands agreed to commission rates as high as 20%, though most averaged around 13%, according to Success magazine. The ball was rolling, and during its first year in 2011, Dallas-based buisness rewardStyle drove more than $60 million worth of apparel sales.

In 2014, rewardStyle generated in the arena of $270 million in sales for its 4,000 retail partners and had grown its base of publishers by 14,000 using its affiliate system. The company now has nearly 90 employees between its two offices: Dallas and London and also incorporates ‘LIKEtoKNOWit’, a program connecting Instagram users to online commerce.

TEADS.TV, Inventor of Outstream Video Advertising

Teads is the inventor of outstream video advertising and a global monetization platform for publishers. Alongside the world’s leading publishers, Teads creates brand new video inventory for brands. Earlier this year, Teads was awarded the Grand Prix for ‘Best Overall Experience’ in the IPA Digital Media Owners Survey 2015, far ahead of big industry players such as Facebook and LinkedIn..

The survey asked all UK media agencies to rate vendors on their performance and is a key indicator of the quality of service currently on offer in the market. Teads topped the list with over 84% of those surveyed stating that working with the company was a good experience. Facebook and LinkedIn were bottom of the list with just 42.2% and 37.5% rating their service experience as good.

This recognition highlights the quality of service offered by Teads, underlining the innovation and effectiveness of its video advertising solutions and is a great testament to the continuous growth and expansion of the company which opened a new office in Tokyo, Japan in March.

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TINKER TAILOR, Customisable Luxury Fashion in 3D

Tinker Tailor – the world’s first digital destination for the creation and customisation of luxury fashion – is where personalization and innovation meet. By giving customers the opportunity to put a personal stamp on beautiful clothing from the world’s top brands, Co-Founder & CEO, Aslaug Magnusdottir has revolutionized the way consumers and designers alike operate in the luxury fashion sphere.

Since its launch, Tinker Tailor has partnered with notable designers like Rodarte, Illincic, Marchesa Bridal, Giambatista Valli (coming soon) and Kira Plastinina’s label LUBLU, and has expanded to include its own private label custom shop, and a boutique to customize bags, accessories and even shoes.

However, the Tinker Tailor online universe itself is also a digital coup in innovation. The company uses digitisation and 3D-render programs such as Optitex and ClO3D to bring its silhouettes to life and, invented its system to let users mix and match components in real time. Add in an iOS app, which is one of Tinker Tailor’s latest foray’s and you begin to get the idea that this is just the beginning for Magnúsdóttir, with plenty of pioneering to come.

*Update: As reported on Luxury Society, Tinker Tailor recently decided to cease its operations.

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Luxury Society invites you to join us in New York City, on Thursday 25th June, to learn from these entrepreneurs and pioneers who are shaping the future of luxury:

- Rachid Ait Addi, Global Industry Director, Luxury,
- Christophe Balaresque, Luxury Brands & Marketing Director, Arjowiggins
- Chondita Chatterjee, Senior Vice President,
- Monica Kirchner, Founder & CEO, .LUXURY
- Aslaug Magnusdottir, Co-Founder & CEO, Tinker Tailor
- Amber Venz, Co-Founder & President, Reward Style
- Geoff Watts, CEO, EDITD