By IC, Nov 21 2019 09:00AM
For centuries, retail environments have been operated on the client/salesperson interaction model; the customer walks in, he/she is approached by a salesperson and in-store purchase journey begins. A good salesperson is valued by the company as someone who upsells and delivers a positive brand experience. But supposing a new breed of client doesn’t feel comfortable with the pressure of a circling salesperson, ever-present with ego-boosting compliments?
As HNWIs get younger, their idea of interaction is different to their parents or grandparents and luxury brands are faced with the dilemma of what does personal service now look like.
We find that today's millennial luxury consumer has become so accustomed to virtual, non-present interaction with much of any initial communication with even with people they know done remotely, that instinctively their first contact with a retailer should be electronic. Whether just checking stock, seeking inspiration or looking for advice and help, the young luxury consumer is expecting an always-on, personal virtual service.
Luxury retailers must now find ways of allowing the client to choose from a less intrusive retail experience and instead offer those that find initial face-to-face interaction (with a salesperson with whom they have no relationship) less appealing, a more intuitively hands-off approach where clients can engage first with the brand virtually (whether in-store or before) until they are ready for staff engagement; an approach that is based less on assumption and instead more informed guidance.
Our research has discovered that Millennial consumers expect interaction and communication through all possible channels whether Augmented Reality, chat bots, instant messaging, out-of-store concierge services, etc; a variety of options that sales and service teams can offer to create highly individual, non-formulaic client relationships. Luxury brands should no longer rely on the traditional highly trained salesperson/brand representative retail model to work with all of the new generation of high-end consumers and instead provide an on-demand, ‘invisible’ service that happens in the background without the need for face-to-face initiation.
To stay relevant in the current environment and deliver a degree of future-proofing, luxury brands must find new ways of focusing on the individual consumer and go beyond generationally-targeted efforts to fully understand the new modern luxury consumers’ mindset, progressive interpretations of how best to welcome first-time Millennial customers will be key.