With the global COVID-19 pandemic threatening the luxury retail business, prominent brands have nonetheless wasted no time in remobilizing their operations to provide support, contributions and innovation. Prominent examples include:
- Salvatore Ferragamo pitched in to help its ravaged home country of Italy by collaborating with the Italian Red Cross to help finance hospital expansion. The company is also donating hand sanitizer to health care workers.
- Apparel makers like Burberry and Lily Pulitzer have made thousands of masks to get to front line and essential workers.
- Tiffany & Co. made a large donation focusing on the relief effort in New York City.
- DeBeers, the diamond company, is deploying money for relief efforts in two of the companies it relies on for diamond mining, Botswana and Namibia.
- LVMH repurposed perfume factories to manufacture hand sanitizer when it was in short supply around the world.
As the global economy moves toward reopening, however, luxury retail is facing a reckoning. Here are some of the trends we expect to see in the coming year.
More focus on digital
The luxury retail industry, famously reliant on in-store experience, must now evolve into a world where digital is king. And with that change comes a need for talent who are especially adept at cultivating customers both in the real world and on digital media, including social media.
Supply chain innovation
Luxury retail’s reliance on China put major makers to the test when that country went into lockdown earlier this year over the Coronavirus pandemic. With consumers’ dawning awareness of how their spending affects small business and can have global consequences, could a growing demand for more locally produced goods be far behind? And because the coronavirus crisis has demanded such quick changes from global manufacturers, we expect individuals who can quickly realize supply chain innovations to be in high demand.
Changing consumer values affect the luxury business
As a recession takes hold, luxury consumers may back away from conspicuous consumption in favor of more meaningful and tasteful purchases. Expect marketers in the luxury retail business to shift their messaging toward authenticity, history and quality in the positioning of products.
Shift to goods over experiences
Luxury retail, like many other industries, is facing a shift away from experiences and toward well-made, long-lasting goods that help consumers cultivate a long-term relationship with a brand. Though the potential for online experiences, especially those that are educational and bring value to the consumer’s life, still exists for savvy marketers. Especially now as seasonal shows are curtailed, look for brands to attempt to innovate in the digital experiential space.
Tips on Finding the Best Digital Candidates for Luxury Retail
Our strategy for hiring the best digital candidates shares major qualities with the interview framework we rely on (outlined here). In addition, we’d ask digital candidates to tell us:
- Projects they have worked on that intersect with social/digital media and new technology
- How they keep current, what they read
- How they’d solve problems that are presented by fast-changing news or trends