Why is luxury retailing a challenging business?

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Luxury products have always been one of the most admired and sought after products. So much so, that consumers of such products take pride in their possessions and are often considered to be of a higher class. They and their products are the ‘talk of the town’ most of the times in social gatherings and people like to be associated with such class conscious, brand loving and luxury seeking consumers. Luxury products therefore had few options and demanded a high cost of purchase deliberately tailored to a select set of consumers.

But now times have changed thanks to rapidly changing consumer mindsets and the very idea of “luxury” is evolving. The old-fashioned ideas that defined luxury as aspirational, high status, exclusive, wealthy, don’t really paint the exact picture of what customers perceive about luxury products. One of the drastic changes over the recent years is that the new age luxury isn’t for showoff.  Similarly other values that luxury brands exclusively attributed to, such as better quality and style, precise workmanship and great designs, are not exclusive any more to luxury.

Consumers’ tastes are evolving. There is an indisputable appeal for new products and services along with more choice of options yet having the flavor of uniqueness and exclusivity. This has given rise a various breeds of brands such as specialized ones and those that are highly customized to customer demands, thus increasing competition.

Further, along with changing tastes, customer shopping patterns and buying behavior have undergone a tremendous transformation. Traditionally, luxury shoppers heavily relied on physical retail to fulfill their desire for luxury goods. But now, multiple channels have come into the game and customers willingly switch between channels to get what they want. Seamless demand fulfillment across channels necessitates the reduction of various issues such as decrease in quality or other losses that are caused during the course of the supply chain. While older shoppers are still playing a significant role in the luxury market spends, millennials and Gen Zs are predicted to account for the larger growth in the coming years. Moreover, their new spending habits which are faster, more frequent, brand-conscious and trend-driven while being highly influenced by digital platforms.

All these are the modern day challenges that luxury retail businesses, especially the ones still depending heavily on the heritage and traditional processes are facing and there is one way out. They need to transform their retail businesses to omni-channel and employ the right omni-channel retail software to exceed their customer expectations and fulfill their business goals.

Understanding Millennial Shopping Behavior is Important for Retail Brands.

Millennials enjoy a seamless experience while expecting a high level of convenience across multiple devices and touch-points when it comes to shopping. There has been a profound influence of smartphones and social media in everyday life. Millennials use these mediums substantially and on-the-fly to get assistance while they are shopping in a brick-and-mortar store as well as to search for coupons and other offers.

Though Millennials generally love to shop in a store, they demand cross-channel capabilities so that they can acquire whatever information and help they seek from any channel that is most convenient to them during the shopping journey. To summarize, Millennials and the newer generations expect a lot more, a lot faster, at their own convenience and at desirable prices. All this has forced retail businesses to evolve and this is an ongoing process.

The below infographic depicts certain important trends about Millennial shopping:

etp blog understanging millenial

Millennials have been one of the game changers for the retail industry, demanding versatility, flexibility, convenience, and speed from retail brands. Going forward, this generation along with the Gen Y and Gen Z are set to disrupt the retail industry further. It is high time, retail brands take the right steps to understand these consumers and be able to satisfy their demands.

A Millennial Match Made In Retail Heaven!

The term ‘Millennial Retail’ seems to gather popularity and confusion in equal parts. Suddenly one finds themselves floating neck deep in ‘quick-fix-home-grown’ millennial solutions which threaten to make necessary relevance rhetorical! But the right retail technology applied through the right business practices can help navigate these choppy waters and turn the tide to one’s advantage, harnessing the industry potential that lies within this world-wide phenomena.
Industry experts project one-third of the global retail revenue to be contributed through the millennial generation by Y2020. The good news is, this number will permanently be on an upward trend hereon. But the challenge lies in managing expectations.
Millennials expect quick service, this is often the key distinction between a sale and no sale situation. Apparently, patience is not a virtue to hold dearly in the new age. Retailers are beginning to understand that their in-store experience is only as good as the customer wait-time it reduces. Quick Billing and express counters ensure the instant gratification millennials seek. Your POS stations are battle grounds combating the biggest deterrent to your conversion ratios. This means there is no down-time and service continues even in offline mode.
ETP blog Millenial retail
A personalized shopping experience has the multi-fold effect possible almost exclusively through millennials. Since they are more open to share information about their preferences and often know exactly what they want, you populate your CRM database with more accurate data. This leads to better promotions and developing key value-add services that make your brand personable and closer to your customers. Also, help spread the love! 19 out 20 millennials (globally) own smartphones and are active on social media. That makes for a lot of first impressions, daily, through multiple networking and information sharing sites.
As a group, millennials favor engaging with companies and brands on social media and also prefer receiving hyper targeted content. With sales soaring as a result of positive social media influence, it is no wonder that most marketing budgets today are skewed towards building an omni-channel presence for their organization. So when your customers exit your store, they still carry your brand experience (quite literally) with them, on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Within the store, the staff uses a similar mobility to lookup customer info, frequency-regency of purchase, buying history like preferred products and payment modes. They now hold the right information to help customers make better choices, deliver value through applicable promotions, up/cross-sell and conclude the transaction from anywhere in the store. Again saving their time and fortifying customer loyalty which induces and influences more people to try your products and services.
It is important to note that although the retail market is a dynamic arena, the millennial trend has pushed to permanence certain course correcting measures which were inevitable. They include striking a better balance between demand and supply, optimizing supply with better visibility and control over production, process and people to satisfy and supplement existing demand. A centralized data management system enables you to analyze better, faster and get that much closer to your yearly projections. The necessary operational overhaul, in reality, has led a more enlightened practice and pace of doing business. And you are sure to be the quickest to the draw, with those young guns at your side.