Industry experts suggest that mobile devices and applications are the way to build stronger relationships with luxury brand consumers

Perhaps I am just a demanding customer, but when one is planning on spending a month’s salary on that to-die-for designer leather tote, waiting 15 minutes for retail staff to do a price check, or half an hour at the sales counter just does not sit well with me. Customer service is often the bare minimum that consumers of luxury brands would expect during a store visit, and industry experts are suggesting that mobile devices and applications are new ways into customers’ hearts.

Customer relationship management (CRM) can be enhanced with mobile technology because of its ability to collect data, increase interactivity and speed up customer service.

According to Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute in New York, “Brands should use mobile in store to help the salespeople collect and use data to create relationships.

“Say the store is empty, employees can use the mobile device to send recent customers information and deals and offer to make them an in-store appointment. Every employee with a mobile device can be far more effective at creating customer relationships.”

Aside from just communicating with customers, mobile devices can also be used to efficiently synchronise the brand experience, both on-premise and off-premise, according to Scott Forshay of Morpheus Media.

From checking stock availability without leaving the customer’s side to ordering items or directing customers to the closest retailer that might have a product in stock, mobile devices allow retail staff to become experts in every product of the brand. Additionally, mobile devices will also allow transactions to be processed without making the customer wait in line.

Forshay said: “Luxury brands, by and large, are highly personalised, deeply consultative and fanatically service-orientated. Brands should use the mobile mediums in ways that accentuate what makes them, by definition, luxurious. It is this innovation that luxury shoppers expect from the brands they most covet.”

Brands like Burberry are already jumping on board, using in-store iPads to allow customers to view live streams of runway shows and pre-order items on the spot.

The famed Plaza Hotel in New York is also offering guests the ability to make reservations for spas, restaurants, or order room service simply through their in-room TVs, laptops or iPads.

“CRM is absolutely critical especially when there is a fear of an economic downturn,” said Pedraza. “Companies that have consumer data and the ability to go out there and build a relationship have an advantage over companies that have no data and are going to have to resort to deep discounts.”



Belle Kwan
BY Belle Kwan ON 24 August 2011
Assistant editor, Marketing magazine &
A marketer's dream who believes everything she sees on TV.
Advertising is not evil, it is an artform and a science.