It may not be widely recognized yet, but digital technology is probably one of the best things to happen to luxury brands in a long time, says a Boston Consulting Group study titled Digital or Die: The Choice for Luxury Brands. Luxury brands that fail to evolve their digital front risk getting left behind as digital is the inevitable, inescapable business shift of the future.
One luxury brand that has successfully used digital marketing to cement its place as a leading international business, accessory and travel lifestyle brand is TUMI. What I've noticed about TUMI is it has responded quickly to the fast and forceful digital takeover -- unlike many dying brands -- and that payoff has translated to its e-commerce business, which is in the high double digits in 2017 compared to 2016.
I had a chance to catch up with Victor Sanz, TUMI's creative director, to understand more about the company's digital maturity. Below are three key takeaways every company can learn from TUMI's transformation.
1. Create a fresh customer service strategy.
Through a number of different channels, TUMI has placed a priority on its online presence to better serve its customers. In my experience, the real importance of digital to companies is not the emergence of new technology, but the important shift in customer behavior. By expanding its digital marketing reach into more upper funnel initiatives, TUMI now focuses on improving user experience on the website, both mobile and desktop.
Investing in a digital strategy focused on customers not only better equips you to efficiently respond to the changing customer, but also improves customer satisfaction and brand recognition. TUMI has shown this by improving its online merchandising strategy to create more personalized experiences for customers and further revamping its CRM to better understand customers.
2. Nurture a customer community.
Growing companies use social tools and online platforms to enable new customers to develop quickly and efficiently. TUMI has made a tremendous effort to target a younger demographic, with efforts largely geared toward engaging customers with its Women's Assortment. The luxury brand has created more personal communications to target new and repeat customers, with a bigger focus on new customer acquisition.
Like TUMI, you can reduce the promotional component of your business and produce more segmented and targeted messages when communicating with customers. TUMI has created connections between the people within the organization and the people who buy its products. In today's age, companies that build authentic relationships between their business and their customers can successfully generate new and sustainable customers.
3. Never stop developing.
Companies must now respond to rising customer expectations and acclimatize to the breakneck speed of technology. To meet future challenges, you must constantly develop the capability to quickly identify, evaluate and invest in the right trends at the right time.
Committed to testing and improving marketing tactics not only through products but also the user experience on its online platform, TUMI is exceeding customer expectations. TUMI will continue to focus on its 'bread and butter' -- women and women's products -- but also dive deeper into analytics and segmentation of TUMI.com.Taking an entrepreneurial approach and establishing new agile initiatives allows you to quickly bring a new idea to the market and then iteratively improve through customer feedback.
No longer can you open new stores in high-end markets and expect consumers to automatically appear. Consumers now want omnichannel interactions and seek brand interaction. It's no surprise luxury brands are up against tough growth challenges. If you take one thing away from TUMI's digital transformation, it should be that the digital disruption has left many businesses spinning but revealed fantastic opportunities for higher levels of customer engagement for those that seek it. Valuing and investing in digital technologies will allow you to extend and individualize your business services beyond the physical store.