Luxury products need a very special marketing approach, and the informational approach to marketing them usually does not work. You need something more, something that goes beyond the regular promises other brands and products make. Undoubtedly, the visual component is essential in luxury marketing, but which marketing channel is the best option?
E-mails frequently go to spam and have certain visual limitations, like the lack of interactivity—the user must click on your links to get a more engaging experience at the website. SMSs work only with loyalty programs and local marketing. Moreover, they are often perceived as spam and an intrusion into the customer’s life, even though the open rates are twice as high as for e-mails. What’s the right choice, then?
Think about a great mobile app. It has the intimacy of a smartphone (which is literally closer to us than a desktop computer), the interactivity (beyond even what websites have to offer), and immediacy of delivery (just like text messages). Users tend to spend a lot more time using their mobile apps than mobile browsing, so the app wins here too. What is even more important, your mobile app will yield up much more accurate customer behavior analytics, even recording what users actually do with the app, how often they open it, and how engaged they are. All of this is possible with the help of special services.
If we take a look at the case of Ritz-Carlton, we can conclude that, in fact, very few luxury companies are offering a full-fledged mobile and self-service experience. This is due to the very nature of luxury products: they cast a spell over regular things and make them exceptional. For example, hotel lodgers turn into guests, through the magic of personalization and constant support, where the needs of the customer are placed at the center of product or service creation. At the Ritz-Carlton, clerks remember the guests’ names and strive to provide service far beyond what customers expect or request.
On the other hand, it is tough to switch to automation and mobile service in a service like the Ritz, as the risk of errors and mistakes can appear to be just too high. The Ritz-Carlton didn’t concentrate on those fears and risks, though: it just launched a luxury mobile app for its clients.
The Ritz-Carlton is a great example, even if you have a very different luxury product. Here are some points you might want to incorporate into your own mobile app strategy.
- Shareable experience. It can be memories, points, photos, any other information that can be put on social media and make all the client’s friends really, really jealous. Isn’t that what social media is all about? Another important feature is maintaining an updated relationship history between the brand and the user, because the transactional nature of your service will make the app less valuable to the customer if it is not up to the minute. Luxury product clients tend to stick with the brand they have already experienced, so you need to work on keeping the memory and the connection fresh.
You need to think about what it will look like and what it will feel like. For photo shares. you can add stamps, filters, and geo-specific additions, but only if you have a stylish and even atmospheric design. Work on creating digital bridges between your company and the client, and between the client and his network.
- Immediate service. The point of offering a mobile app is to be able deliver instant push notifications and SMS texts to your clients. At the same time, you get their orders just as fast as you would on the web. Flexibility and convenience is important to many industries, including travel (which the Ritz-Carlton has successfully used), and you might want to use this feature as well. Is there something that your clients might want to get as fast as possible? A room, a cup of coffee, table service, a treat for the corporate meeting, or a gift for a business partner—the list can go on and on.
- Creating a pool of loyal customers. Undoubtedly, your primary marketing goal for a luxury product or service is to increase brand loyalty. The cost of attracting new customers is relatively high, so why not monetize your existing customers’ satisfaction? In the case of the Ritz-Carlton, accidental guests are hardly likely to download the mobile app after their first and only stay, while those who are really into Ritz-Carlton will install and use it in the future. Therefore, you can use the mobile app to distribute all those special promos and gifts to the most loyal customers, the ones you want to single out for special treatment.
- Technology benefits and client control. Mobile apps remove the risks of typos and forgotten add-ons that your clients originally wanted. Many transactional details can be added to the mobile app, so that your clients can check them off themselves including the bills, available services, departure and arrival times, and many more. Considering that you have a luxury brand, the luxury experience is crucial to ensuring that your customer will come back. Meanwhile, your client feels more in control of what is going on, a very pleasant feeling.
For all these reasons, your goal is to move your perfect luxury service to the clients’ smartphone instead of merely replacing it with services that are technically mobile but too automated. The Ritz-Carlton has extended its brand into cyberspace, offering specialized services with a luxury feel to its most valued customers. With careful thought and design, your luxury brand can reap major marketing benefits with your own mobile app.
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