How the Covid-19 is Forcing Luxury Brand to Reinvent Themselves

With repeated lockdowns in several countries around the world and mandatory store closings, digital has established itself as the only means of communication between brands and consumers. First taking lessons, they were quick to react and offer innovative buying experiences. This is the case with Gucci, which last summer launched “Gucci Live“, a virtual shopping service that allowed customers to chat in real time with advisors. For its part, Dolce & Gabbana unveiled in September in Osaka, Japan, its “Virtual Boutique Experience”, a site dedicated to virtual shopping in the iconic boutiques of the Italian house. Faced with the success of the project, it was deployed at the end of November in France. Now you just have to go to to visit 3/5 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (among others) and do your shopping as if you were there.

If the shopping experience is digital, so are the collections presentations. From July 6 to 8, the website of the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion hosted the first 100% digital Fashion Week in history. In total, 33 houses presented their fall-winter 2020-2021 couture collection via short films and photo series. Even more surprisingly, luxury seems to have found a new playground for video games. At the beginning of May, the Valentino house delighted fans of “Animal Crossing New Horizons“, owned by Japanese giant Nintendo, by unveiling two virtual collections to stroll around its paradise island in style. On the program: twenty looks inspired by the spring-summer 2020 lines and the fall-winter 2020-2021 pre-collection. Among them, shirts with the signature “V” and a dress in “Valentino red”. A clever way of showing off her creations that no doubt inspired Demna Gvasalia, artistic director of Balenciaga. On December 6, he unveiled “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”, a new video game accessible to all. After choosing his avatar, the user was immersed in a series of successive universes. The more he advanced in the game, the more he discovered the futuristic looks of the new collection of the house. So he rubbed shoulders with medieval metallic armor, a blue bomber jacket with the NASA logo, silver knight’s boots, and an asymmetrical sequin dress.

“These experiences compensate for a lack of sensoriality necessary for the proper functioning of the relationship between consumer and brand,” explains Françoise Hernaez, luxury market expert who heads Ipsos’ strategic planning. We no longer go to the store to touch the products and we no longer benefit from in-store customer service, but podcasts, video games or playful partnerships can fill this void. All the brands that have been able to build user-friendly ergonomics to be consumed virtually have received good feedback. »Astonishing? Not really, according to the specialist. According to the 2020 edition of World Luxury Tracking, Ipsos’s annual luxury consumer trends barometer, the health environment has led respondents to spend a lot of time on the Internet. As a result, nearly 70% of Chinese, 51% of Americans and 35% of Europeans have purchased luxury goods online during their lockdown and plan to buy more luxury goods online. “It’s quite astonishing because one would have imagined that people would want to refocus on the essentials, relegating luxury items to the superficial. Finally, in this context and thanks to the responsiveness of the brands, luxury is once again becoming a fundamental pleasure linked to well-being. “