Yesterday I visited the website of an upscale department store brand to order my favorite Chanel blush. Everything started perfectly. The brand’s logo was displayed elegantly across the top of the page. Its signature black and white color scheme was set off by striking, high resolution images. The ordering process was easy and I was even offered three free samples upon checkout—just as I would have been had I purchased the product in the store itself. Perfect! Almost… As I completed the transaction a final message appeared on the screen: “We’re on it!”
I stopped and wondered if I’d suddenly been transported to an Amazon or Best Buy website. The statement just didn’t fit the brand’s image. In my mind, the sophisticated, expertly suited sales associate I imagined assisting me with my purchase was jarringly replaced with a t-shirt clad kid in sneakers. It created a sort of cognitive dissonance—when your brain tries to hold two contradictory or incompatible thoughts simultaneously.
Luxury brands must consistently deliver the brand’s promise. The high net worth client demands it. Everything that contributes to the customer’s experience: décor, language, packaging sounds, smells, etc., must match the brand’s message. As luxury retailers begin to engage their customers in a digital world, they must ensure a comparable brand experience across all channels.
If something about the experience is inconsistent with the brand—and this stands true both for the product brand as it does for the luxury retailer—then the experience is diminished. In the report Digital or Die: The Choice for Luxury Brands from bcg.perspectives (Boston Consulting Group) it states:
Moreover, every touch point contributes to—or detracts from—the customer’s overall perception of the product or service being offered. If a luxury product shows up in oddly irrelevant digital channels, or if additional information about the product is difficult or awkward to obtain online, those experiences will diminish the desirability of the product itself.
Creating a truly cohesive luxury omnichannel experience—one that marries online shopping with the high-end, in-store experience—can be challenging to luxury retailers. But as a luxury consumer, I expect it.