LONDON — The mobile experience is key for the luxury consumer, and especially the big spenders, said Matthew Woolsey, Net-a-porter’s new managing director, during the Decoded Fashion and Beauty Summit, which was hosted in association with the British Fashion Council this week.
Woolsey argued that the mobile experience is key for the luxury consumer. He said customers have dictated how Net-a-porter interacts with them and brought the company into this new era of relationships. “We are working with unprecedented level of engagement,” said Woolsey, who noted their customer is highly engaged in mobile with 60 percent of traffic derived from it.
“Mobile is even more important for our EIP,” he added, “our highest valuable customers who we call ‘extremely important people.’ This is just 2 percent of our customer base who represents 40 percent of our sales. For this group, 60 percent stands on mobile. We spend a lot of time talking about Millennials versus unwanted usage of tech.”
Woolsey said that this year, the e-tailer launched iMessage and WeChat, as well as Whatsapp. Through the use of these messaging platforms, the web site’s personal shoppers can share recommendations, product information and have access to exclusive themes and new arrivals and recommendations as well as items not yet online.
“Our customers can use the messaging platform and it’s important to us,” said Woolsey. “We don’t think that chatbot is the future of what luxury can be. We think that the technology underpinning the experience is what guides the scale not the interaction.”
Woolsey pointed to IBM Watson, which specializes in artificial intelligence, as one of the technologies that it has on board to boost the customer experience, which will enable the e-tailer to deliver a personalized experience.
Other speakers at the two-day summit held at the The Institution of Engineering and Technology talked about the importance of technology, data and mobile platforms.
Temperley London designer Alice Temperley said since starting her brand, her use of technology has evolved. She said she incorporates innovations such as Gerber Technology, which aids her during her design process.
“The changes I’ve seen are massive,” said Temperley. “Especially with tech. Rather than do prints and embroideries by hand, we are now using tech in pattern-cutting, embroideries. Tech is also present in how we promote ourselves and use social media.
“We are using tech now to be able to explain to people in the luxury space what goes into luxury products,” she added. “The engineering, the craftsmanship, there is the technology now to explain craft, which is the most powerful way of getting through to new people.”
Temperley said online is definitely growing and accounts for 12 percent of her business from her web site. But she noted the importance of flagships. “It’s really good for people to see the product and use the product and then feel confident to buy online,” said Temperley. “Our next strategy will be on online. How do we create more content or reach more people and what we can do with our partners?”
Meanwhile, for beauty, a panel comprised of Lopo Champalimaud, chief executive officer and founder of Treatwell, and Kyle Karim, commercial operations director at Coty Professional Beauty, U.K. & Ireland, spoke about how retailers can innovate the beauty and retail experience.
The Treatwell founder said by using data he was able to help salons listed on his site to provide more services that were customer-oriented. He said he reached out to specific salons as he noted trends within the area where the salons were located. He said that in their research they saw a demand for Sundays in a particular region and suggested to a select number of salons to offer certain treatments based on the patterns he encountered.
“Today 60 percent of all of our bookings happen on a mobile phone,” said Champalimaud, “with 50 percent happening outside of opening hours and 25 percent happening within three hours before the appointment. That experience is transformative of how people could do it.”
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