Luxury brands are undoubtedly the leaders in face-to-face customer service and in-store shopping experience. Their salespersons are trained meticulously and stores’ design is often invested heavily, both of which are considered keys to increasing sales.
However, things are changing fast globally and especially in China. The source of growth for high-end brands is coming from younger and affluent consumers known as millennial and Gen Z. These are digital natives, meaning that their life activities and thus most of their buying journey happen on digital channels.
The challenge facing luxury brands is how to stay relevant and attractive to the new generation of buyers while maintaining the brand image and loyalty from existing customers.
It is not simply about building a strong presence on digital platforms, which any brand can do and is doing. The key to differentiation for luxury brands is to replicate such high-class and personalized shopping experience offered offline to online channels by harnessing the power of big data and AI.
And the next question is HOW. This article will give you the answers.
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What is big data and Artificial Intelligence?
Since the society merged itself with the digital world, an explosion of data has been unleashed.
Every time you touch your electronic device such as laptops or mobile phones, a type of data will be recorded. Therefore, companies can collect gigantic data quantities from our online behaviors.
Big Data refers to extremely large and diverse data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.
The primary value from big data comes not from the data in its raw form, but from the processing and analysis of it and the insights, products, and services that emerge from analysis.
Big data analytics can enable cost reductions, time reductions, new product development and optimized offerings, and smart decision making.
Artificial Intelligence (AI, also machine learning) relies on Big Data and is one of the techniques in analyzing Big Data.
Artificial Intelligence makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.
Most AI examples that you hear about today – from chess-playing computers to self-driving cars – rely heavily on deep learning and natural language processing.
Using these technologies, computers can be trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognising patterns in the data.
How to harness the power of Big Data and AI as a luxury brand?
Luxury companies can benefit from existing Big Data and AI solutions in the following areas:
1. Gain a Deeper Understanding of How your brand Is Perceived:
As we all know, millennials and Gen-Zers are digital natives, particularly in mainland China. Their lives are entirely digitally based, their conversations are online and their first point of access to brands is via their mobile phone.
AI helps marketers collect and process all available data points about the brand and relevant competitors on social media, blogs, forums, and more. This includes all conversations and mentions about the brand that are happening online on publicly accessible platforms.
Then identify major relationships, interactions, and patterns about how the brand is seen online.
From such insights, marketers gain a precise map of how the brand is perceived, for example, by target groups, regions, gender, age-clusters, buyers of the brand versus competitive buyers, and more.
This map allows you to truly understand what customers are feeling about your brand and then develop precise strategies to strengthen the brand and its performance while also identifying significant marketing savings and efficiency gains.
2. Create Detailed Consumer Profiles
The abundance of data can also help feed consumer profiles.
AI solutions provide marketers with deeper knowledge of consumers and prospective clients, enabling them to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
The secret to building a truly comprehensive profile lies in capturing data during every single consumer interaction. Marketers can use AI solutions to take these profiles a step further, refine marketing campaigns, and create highly personalized content.
3. Personalize Consumers’ Shopping Experience:
Luxury shoppers want a seamless and personalised shopping experience. That is particularly the case with Millennials and Gen Z consumers who now expect their flawless in-store experience to be replicated online.
This radical generational shift is pushing high-end brands to experiment with technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). 60% of e-commerce and retailers anticipate establishing AI marketing strategies within the year, according to an Emarsys study conducted with Forrester.
AI can help brands curate product suggestions tailored to the customer based off real-time information (browsing behaviours, transaction history, interactions with brands offline…), not only making customers feel special and cared for by a brand but enabling the brand to be hyper-relevant to individuals.
With 74% of consumers more likely to buy a product that has been customised to their specifications, AI can be the tool that helps increase sales and bring the consumer closer to the brand.
4. Improve Customer Service:
With 33% of millennials only willing to wait 1-3 minutes for a response from a brand, customer service is becoming more important than ever in the luxury service mix.
AI will undoubtedly be the future of customer service, allowing brands to instantly meet a customers communication needs, potentially in a better way than a human ever could.
IBM predicts that by 2020 up to 85% of all business-to-customer interaction will be managed using AI. For brands that are dedicated to detail and to surpassing customer expectations, AI yields great potential for crafting a better customer experience.
While winning applications are still to be uncovered, brands are already experimenting with AI technologies such as chatbots, machine learning, voice recognition and image recognition today.
Each of these application helps consumers interact with a brand on a deeper and more personal level. They can enhance the customer journey online by delivering small moments of delight and facilitate the purchase path.
5. Optimize Digital Advertising Campaigns
While there are various ways to optimize digital advertising and account-based marketing, AI solutions help marketers take them a step further for deeper insight and analysis.
AI can tap into the abundance of consumer data hidden in keyword searches, social profiles, and other online data, for smarter and more effective digital ads.
The results are human-level outcomes and insights without the manual human labor.
6. Join Real-Time Conversations with Consumers
One of the advanced capabilities of AI is its ability to analyze large blocks of open content and identify trends.
This allows brands to interact directly with consumers in real time through online conversations or events.
Communicating with consumers at the precise ‘decision-making moment’ can help directly influence buying decisions.
AI helps marketers monitor these social conversations and other open forums to identify any relevant conversations.
China is one of the most attractive markets for luxury brands today, but it is also one of the most challenging.
The sophistication and expectations of luxury consumers in the country are among the highest in the world, and their youngest consumers expect the most while also driving the most market change.
AI allows brands to identify real drivers or barriers to success – unbiased and in real-time – which are then translated into strategies that can improve business and accelerate growth.
Big Data and AI are becoming a critical enabler for success in China’s new economy.
We have helped multiple luxury brands market themselves successfully on China digital platforms.
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