POSTED : November 9, 2015

When it comes to customer experience, Burberry often stands out among brands in both retail and fashion spheres. The company continues to push the boundary of digital and physical CX under its current CEO, Christopher Bailey, via product customization and social media.

The impact of Bailey’s prior role as creative director is evident in the collection and product launches, as well as store openings that are built from the ground up, with rich components that work harmoniously together. Conversely, many retailers face challenges in the omnichannel environment, resulting in a fragmented customer experience due to multiple store outlets, as well as marketing channels creating contradictory customer experiences. To overcome this challenge, retailers can take a “phygital” approach. As we’ve noted before, the phygital trend often serves to improve the overall customer experience by offering increased ease, simplicity and personalization opportunities.retail customer experience innovation

In a recent example, Burberry launched a new line of scarfs with a customization component. The online and in-store Scarf Bar allows customers to choose from over 30 different colors and combinations of prints, as well as the option to personalize their creations with a three-letter monogram.

Customization creates new ways for customers to experience a brand and its products, and it continues to be relevant to today’s demanding luxury retail consumers. According to The Telegraph, “Burberry’s Scarf Bars join an ever-increasing list of designer facilities pandering to luxury consumers’ desire for customization. It’s no longer the done thing to tote the latest It-bag, or in this case It-scarf. Premium products need to have the personal touch, whether it’s a customized pair of Jimmy Choos, engraved Fabergé egg charm or initialed Louis Vuitton leather goods.”

Another example is Burberry’s ability to create rich experiences by leveraging the full potential of digital platforms. This is seen in the brand’s routine use of Snapchat. Recently, Burberry streamed the photoshoot for its Spring 2016 campaign via Snapchat, giving fans a behind-the-scenes look. Two key components of Burberry’s use of Snapchat include timing and experience. With Snapchat, Burberry fans gain early access to this collection, as the print campaign won’t be revealed until early 2016. Furthermore, Snapchat allows fans a unique and immersive way to experience the brand, including a look at how the campaign was photographed by famed photographer Mario Testino. As CEO Bailey tells Mashable, “We wanted to play with the traditional format of an advertising campaign to make it much more immediate and accessible… we are totally focused on capturing the energy and the rawness of the shoot and sharing it the moment it happens.”

When it comes to digital, Burberry thinks about the customer experience holistically. In other words, social media is not another box to check (i.e. let’s add 2 photos to Facebook from our fashion show that’s already taken place). Instead, Burberry focuses on creating unique and compelling brand experiences via social media, with an eye toward mobile. These experiences build upon and complement events like live fashion shows and photo shoots. While these experiences give millennials access to the brand (by meeting them where they are), Burberry is not democratizing fashion. The brand still maintains its prestige and high price tag. Furthermore, these experiences impact the bottom line, helping drive increased mobile sales, especially in the U.S. As Luxury Daily suggests, as brands look to the future, social media platforms will continue to “lend themselves to a purchasing journey more readily” and “social media buy buttons could be the next frontier of mobile commerce as they quickly gain momentum on various platforms, with savvy retailers [like Burberry] likely to extend into numerous outlets to gain the most benefit.”

In conclusion, despite an increasingly complex omnichannel environment, brands have ample opportunity to create compelling customer experiences. As Burberry demonstrates, product customization and digital are two means to build immersive and definitive customer experiences. At PK, we look forward to monitoring how the fashion industry continues to innovate the customer experience.

If you are interested in more reading about omnichannel marketing, check out this article.

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