Designers everywhere watched with dismay as London’s Digital Fashion Week failed to capture much attention from an online audience. Unable to rely on celebrity appearances and gossip for buzz, some Fashion Week Youtube panels had less than 20 viewers. To many, the lukewarm event was a public demonstration of the growing pains high fashion has experienced in the transition to doing business remotely.
Now, the jewelry industry seems determined not to repeat the recent missteps of luxury designers. Brands want to promote their collections online while maintaining the exclusivity and stateliness that their customers demand. Here are some ways jewelers have responded to that challenge.
- Last year, like many other luxury jewelers, Bulgari relied on celebrity and exclusive events. To promote new releases, Bulgari treated its most trusted clients to boat tours in Capri, cooking classes in a medieval monastery, and a private Nicole Scherzinger concert.
- Now, Bulgari has rolled out its invitation-only Barocko app, where users can browse and ‘try on’ the new collection - with prices as high as €700,000 - in augmented reality. Lively showrooms have been dropped for high-quality, up-close videos of their offerings. They have also widened their e-commerce reach to include several new markets in the Middle East and Asia.
- Using these strategies, while treating Instagram as a portal for interacting with customers and giving style advice, Bulgari and other LVMH holdings have maintained momentum through the COVID crisis. Adaptive online advertising techniques have helped LVMH’s brands collectively gain more than a million Instagram followers since May.
Chaumet’s online events
- Last July, Paris-based Chaumet showcased their new releases at haute couture week in the 1st arrondissement. With business running as usual, Chaumet’s sellers met with their clients in person at least once or twice a year.
- Now, Chaumet has jumped into the internet showroom with both feet. Vogue called Chaumet’s digital presentation of “Perspectives de Chaumet,” its new high jewelry collection, “one of the slickest yet as far as remote shows go.”
- Chief executive Jean-Marc Mansvelt stressed the importance of meeting with clients, despite the current crisis. Chaumet reps continue to sit down with customers in regular online meetups. With this way of doing business, Chaumet hopes to combine ‘digital-first’ retail practices with the personalized experience they are known for providing to customers.
Dior eyes Chinese market
- Previously, Dior planned to launch its new high jewelry collection in Lake Como, Lombardy.
- Now, along with many other jewelry and luxury brands, Dior is switching its focus to the Chinese market. The launch of their new tie-dye inspired collection recently took place in a resort town near Shanghai. Dior displayed 50 new pieces of technicolor jewelry.
- This move comes as China consumers drive the recovery of the luxury goods sector. While Americans and Europeans save their money, there are estimates that the Chinese will account for half of all luxury purchases by 2025. Our store map shows a rush of European jewelry makers into East Asia over the last few years, and the strategy seems to be paying off in ways luxury brands could not have imagined. An influx of ‘revenge spending’ by Chinese consumers anxious to get back to shopping has boosted sales across the board, with one Hermes outlet in Guangzhou pulling in $2.7 million in one day.
Hopefully, these decisions can strike that perfect balance between accessible and exclusive. Jewelers and art directors make their living in trying to find that line, even in times of crisis. For now, it seems augmented reality, exclusive apps, and a renewed focus on the Chinese luxury market is the recovery strategy. These changes, along with an emphasis on building out e-commerce, could finally bring the storied industry into the 21st century.
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