Daily Dose of iQ: Not All Luxury Brands Clamoring for Tech

Jan 23, 2014 — Allan Pulga

In the week after NRF, a lot has been made about retailers trying to implement new technology to deliver an omnichannel experience and compete with Amazon.

But not all brands are doing that. Yesterday, Shelby Livingston and Supraja Seshadri, two graduate journalism students at the Northwestern Medill School, wrote an article on how certain luxury brands are actually avoiding mobile apps entirely.

For Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, service is more important than convenience.

A Target store, they write, bombards customers with technology: "Huge flat screens, free wireless Internet and public touch screens beckon customers to search Target.com or download one of the company’s two mobile apps for deals, registries and online-only merchandise."

Meanwhile, boutiques like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci offer a much different atmosphere: "The expansive, quiet showrooms are populated by bright-faced helpful sales associates, ready to greet you, assist you, dress you. Tablets and mobile devices, if present, are invisible. Service is more important than convenience."

Not all luxury brands are low-tech. Take Burberry, for example.

Livingston and Seshadri expose two schools of thought in their article. On one hand, these luxury brands appear to be missing out on the marketing opportunity of phone and tablet interfaces. On the other hand, these companies would prefer to eschew the techno trend and keep a sense of exclusivity to their brand -- they are, after all, luxury brands. It's new school retail colliding with old school.

But it's not as though all luxury brands are low-tech. Burberry, for example, is a leader in omnichannel and interactive retail technology.

Ultimately, these companies' bottom lines will dictate whether or not they stay put or hop aboard the mobile commerce bandwagon.

Topics: Retail Operations, Wireless Trends, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, e-Commerce, Retail Marketing

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