Social distancing, travel restrictions, and the shrinking purchase power of consumers hit the luxury-goods sector in its heart. The offline customer experience luxury brands have always bet on became partially illegal. Now, fashion and trade shows with thousands of visitors and the personal assistance provided in stores are suspended. Besides, many of us prefer to leave our homes only for the most essential activities, and shopping isn’t one of them.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that digital marketing and social media cannot make up for the absence of offline promotion strategies. To be truly effective, online and offline channels should complement each other creating a unified omnichannel campaign. In the marketing of luxury goods, traditional offline experiences are life-critical for building trust and showing consumers that you truly care for them.
Fortunately, some of the offline promotion strategies remain available despite the ongoing limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct mail, review of delivery and return policies, gifts, quality phone support are just a few of them. More about the use of offline promotion strategies for the marketing of luxury goods below:
- Marketing of luxury goods during the lockdown and beyond: How did the market change & what should marketers do now?
- Offline promotion strategies for the marketing of luxury goods in 2020
- Additional tips to boost your offline promotion strategies
Marketing of Luxury Goods During the Lockdown and Beyond: How Did the Market Change & What Should Marketers Do Now?
The growth of e-commerce and transition to vertically integrated distribution had already put many luxury brands on the verge of extinction even before the lockdown. In its recent report on the marketing of luxury goods, McKinsey calls this phenomenon wholesale Darwinism and warns about the possible further decline.
The companies that had troubles with the supply chain before the lockdown are likely to face a disaster now. 40% of luxury goods are produced in Italy that paused the operation of many factories for almost two months and will need a lot of time to resume the usual pace of production. This prevents luxury brands from restocking their online stores in time and could harm their reputation among existing customers.
Therefore, keeping the loyal target audience is one of the primary anti-crisis goals of marketers. They need to constantly communicate with consumers, clarifying the situation with supplies. You can pick any way to stay in touch – from traditional emails or social media to custom mail pieces or direct calls. To use the most convenient channel, let your customers make the choice or study their preferences with analytics tools.
Pre-orders are another great option both for marketers and business owners. Whereas marketers can rely on this model to position the brand as sustainable and eco-friendly, business owners will avoid an excess of inventory. Thanks to the pre-order customer experience, luxury brands will produce, ship, and store only the items that already have their buyers.
And finally, every product or service should switch to the local market. This is particularly true for luxury brands, which used to receive 20-30% of revenue from consumers coming from other countries. It was a nice tradition to buy a pricey dress, purse, or suit in the country of its origin. Given that the industry lost Chinese consumers that made around 150 million trips every year and other tourists, local buyers have become highly valuable.
Hence, the lockdown marketing of luxury goods looks more local rather than globally focused. It’s also heavily based on alternative offline channels that allow business owners to offer a personalized approach to local consumers and encourage them to support the local economy.
Offline Promotion Strategies for the Marketing of Luxury Goods in 2020
Thinking of luxury brands, you, most probably, recall such market giants as Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, or Chanel. Although they take a large share of the market, there are many family-based producers that are less renowned. Small businesses don’t have millions of Instagram or Facebook subscribers and have always focused on offline promotion strategies. Since the digital marketing competition is crazy and not easy to enter, they need to find new ways to market offline. Here are some marketing ideas:
Encourage buyers to support the national economy in your offline promotion strategies
There is no need to use direct slogans or stickers as mass-market producers do. With the right marketing message, luxury brands can remind buyers about the origin of their product or service. Storytelling is another sophisticated way to attract the attention of local buyers without devaluing your brand. Tell people about the values behind the brand, your history, and personal challenges by placing articles in local high-end magazines, for example. This will help you reactivate buyers that want to support local businesses. Global challenges make local support stronger than ever.
Reward buyers with gifts instead of discounts
Building offline promotion strategies for improved customer experience, luxury brands shouldn’t rush with discounts. The fact that only a limited number of consumers can afford such products is what makes the luxury brand experience so unique. Yet if you still want to attract customers with special offers, start nurturing consumers with gifts. This approach also enables you to get the maximum benefit from extra inventory left after the spring lockdown.
Use direct mail as a marketing channel
Direct mail in luxury brand marketing doesn’t look like standard flyers or business cards delivered to every household. It’s printed on high-quality paper, customized, and reaches a narrow target audience based on their needs and previous purchase history. For example, you can inform loyal customers that your store reopens after the lockdown with tailored invitations. Or invest in print catalogs with custom selections of products and deliver them to potential customers. This offers a personalized customer experience that luxury brands need to offer in the age of digital marketing.
Review your purchase and return policies to boost the marketing of luxury goods
To enhance customer experience, luxury brands can extend the return time frame from 14 to up to 100 days. This gives potential customers an additional sense of security and control over their expenses. Such a marketing strategy also shows consumers that you trust them and are ready to adapt to the current market challenges. Since the majority of buyers will keep the goods and won’t use the extended return opportunities, you’ll also increase sales.
Additional Tips to Boost Your Offline Promotion Strategies
The effectiveness of the marketing of luxury goods depends on the customer experience luxury brands provide. That’s why you need to ensure an equally smooth consumer journey both through online and offline channels. Fortunately, marketing automation software allows you to connect and synchronize customer experiences across every touchpoint. So the main tip is to automate your online and offline promotion strategies when possible. Apart from that, you should:
- Review your current luxury brand marketing strategies to understand which of them are the most effective — and which are the opposite
- Think ahead and plan your 2021 collections keeping in mind the possibility of recurring lockdowns
- Create safe working conditions for your employees and show consumers that you value safety over financial gains
- Implement flexible offline marketing strategies based on the latest changes in customer behavior and buying patterns
- Contribute to social and healthcare initiatives to promote your brand as a socially responsible business.
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