... an exploration of mobile trends in luxury retail

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mobi.luxe Top Ten Posts for 2011

In digital luxury, luxury, luxury mobile, mobile 2.0 on December 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm

 

At long last, 2011 has been a year of reckoning for the mobile marketplace. We have all been witness to tremendous advancements in the field and anxiously look forward to 2012 and the continued innovations that the new year will undoubtedly bring.

When I first began this blog, the first piece I crafted was entitled “An Obsolescence Missive.” As I look back on 2011, I also look back at the words I wrote at this project’s inception and find that they have proven true:

The mobile revolution is upon us.  There, I’ve said it.  Analysts from such venerable firms as Morgan Stanley, Gartner, and Jupiter Research have all confirmed it.  The question is …”where do we go from here?”

It’s an interesting proposition to attempt to define and document some semblance of a manifesto or mission statement that accurately reflects the spirit of my venturing out into the blogosphere to tackle a subject like mobile and, in turn, it’s implications for luxury and “masstige” retail brands.  In such a rapidly-evolving and highly fragmented market, how can one in good conscience attempt to relay anything revolutionary while said revolution is taking form all around us?  The overarching point here being that as soon as this first post is published, another momentous step in this burgeoning space will have been taken and much of what is discussed here will be rendered obsolete.

Thank being said, I commit to any who take the time to listen to provide fresh insights into the effects (either positive or negative) of mobile on luxury retail.  That’s it … as simple as that.  Fresh and honest and, hopefully, somewhat insightful insomuch as one flying blind into a storm can provide a ray of knowledge.

With this in mind, I will push the Publish button and my missive of obsolescence will commence with its self-fulfilling prophecy.

My Best,

Scott Forshay aka mobi.luxe

October 11, 2010

In celebration of all those who have been so kind as to read the contents herein whose support and encouragement have provided immeasurable inspiration and kept this humble project going, I offer the following Top Ten Posts of 2011 as voted on by you. I thank you all for your support and promise to strive to provide innovative thinking and practical perspective as we enter 2012. I hope you enjoy.
Thank you to you all and I wish you a very happy, safe, and prosperous 2012.

the added mobile dimension in luxury print advertising

In digital luxury, luxury, luxury mobile on October 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

This article was originally written for, and appeared in, Fashion’s Collective (www.fashionscollective.com)

The visual mystery, sensuality, and intrigue elicited through still image artistry provide the de facto two-dimensional canvas of choice for luxury brands.  The artistic vision of the Creative Director is meticulously staged and captured for the world to marvel at in the glossed pages of the style guides of our times.  Each year, luxury brand marketers invest enormous percentages of marketing budgets in print advertising. Vast libraries of visual content collect dust, as the artistry of each new season’s collection is re-envisioned, making way for the evolving stylistic viewpoint of the house.

This accelerated march to antiquity for such valuable assets represents tremendous sunk costs for brands.  If digital life could be breathed into these traditionally passive assets, print advertising could be resuscitated with added dimensionality, and provide additional layers of complexity and personality to the consumer experience.  The technologies required for this revitalization exist today and are in use by some of the most creative minds in digital fashion marketing.  The opportunities are significant, yet the proper application and execution of the technologies in ways on-brand for luxury adds a layer of complication.

QR Codes and the Luxury Brand Dilemma

In the infancy stages of mobile marketing, many luxury brands have successfully experimented with QR codes as actionable triggers to launch added dimensions of brand engagement with consumers.  However, the QR code represents a dilemma for luxury brands. A vast majority of labels are unwilling to risk altering the artistic impact of their print advertising by including the awkward appearance of tiny, futuristic-looking blocks.

While advances in the production of more aesthetically on-brand vanity QR codes are evident in recent campaigns from prestige brands like Ralph Lauren, luxury brands will continue to be slow to adopt. Because of the contrarian nature of QR codes and brand aesthetic, labels opt instead to pursue less creatively intrusive technologies represented by augmented reality and image recognition.

The Curious Case of Augmented Reality for Luxury Fashion

Certainly, augmented reality provides an intriguing new wrinkle of added dimensionality to 2D print, but the function is faced with its own set of significant challenges.  Early adopters of AR technologies in the luxury arena have been predominantly in the timepieces and fine jewelry sectors. However, fashion brands such as Dunhill have taken progressive approaches to the utilization of the technology to add layers to their print campaigns.

The very technologically progressive effort by Dunhill in support of The Voice campaign provides an excellent example of how the mobile medium can breathe digital life into traditional brand assets, allowing them to take on an entirely new and more engaging identity. The Voice campaign, which highlights distinguished men from varying walks of life who exhibit the refinement of the brand, provides an exceptional environment for enthusiasts to connect with Dunhill through their connected devices.

The one drawback to the initiative is the primary barrier to entry for many retailers experimenting with AR or image recognition technologies: there is no universal reader or standard for it.  This arena is highly fragmented and siloed by application platforms, requiring a certain app – in this case Aurasma – to be downloaded in order to view the video content behind the print.  Consumers must have the Aurasma app downloaded and open in order to view this otherwise flawless execution by Dunhill.  AR technology can be a valuable addition to the digital marketer’s arsenal, but, until standards are solidified and AR can be leveraged regardless of application, its immediate value may be hindered.

The mobile medium is uniquely suited to revitalizing traditional print for luxury brands and allowing the consumer to experience a three-dimensional engagement with them.  The ability to breathe digital life into traditionally passive assets opens numerous compelling interactive opportunities for brands and their legions of loyalists.

the mobile 2.0 imperative

In digital luxury, luxury mobile, mobile 2.0 on January 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

This article was originally written for, and appeared in, Fashion’s Collective (www.fashionscollective.com)

The mobile (r)evolution is upon us. Instantaneous access to information, social connectedness, location awareness, personalization, utility, efficiency – these characteristics shape the inherent value proposition of mobile devices as natural extensions of our human selves.  Our lives are inextricably tied to these extraordinarily powerful gadgets – our address book, phone directory, pictures of family and friends, our social network, our tastes and preferences, our mobile wallet, and our identity.  In this highly fragmented new retail frontier of mobile, from the ubiquity of the mobile web to branded, content-focused rich applications, the fashion retail segment is inundated with myriad philosophies as to what this new channel can and should represent for their brands.

As mobile evolves beyond its infancy stage, however, a consumer utility-driven evolution to Mobile 2.0 will provide definition for this new precipice, and for the readiness it will symbolize in a world where leisure time is considered the greatest luxury.

The less that we as fashion marketers limit these devices, intelligent inanimate objects designed to stand alone as a potential fourth channel, the more that we are able to conceive imaginative issues that these technological extensions of shoppers’ identities can solve in order to enhance the brand experience. This will allow us to more effectively cater to our legions of loyalists in a manner befitting their value and consistent with the luxuriousness of the brand.  Blurring the lines of demarcation between the in-boutique magnetism of Fashion labels and the greater engagement capabilities created by mobile devices and applications are at the core of Mobile 2.0.  Making it difficult to comprehend where one occurrence ends and another begins in a precise, orchestrated client effort, this represents the most clear and present opportunity for mobile to make an immediately positive and lasting impact on consumers’ encounters with the brand.

Mobile, as an intensely personal, highly relevant interactive medium, epitomizes the ideal instrument to adequately bridge the chasm that e-commerce has been unable to navigate for many fashion brands.  The basic disconnection from the principles of the physical brand experience in a tethered e-commerce environment has always been at the core of brands’ hesitance to venture into its realm, and is also at the crux of the strategic complexities with integrating the channel suitably for the values of the brand.  As a unique considered channel, mobile represents a far greater opportunity than simply serving as a scaled-down version of a retailer’s e-Commerce presence.  The realization of Mobile 2.0 will be predicated on leveraging these profoundly intimate, highly relevant mobile extensions of shoppers’ personas to design solutions that weave together all existing retail channel touch points into a rich tapestry of utility and luxury.

From in-boutique to e-commerce, from print advertising to print and digital catalog, mobile is unique as a channel in its ability to fasten all consumer platforms to a common medium and augment shoppers’ experiences with brands, regardless of how they prefer to engage with them.  For fashion retail, where the in-boutique encounter is the heart of what makes brands majestic and desired, the mobile medium and its ability to serve as a driving force in enhancing that occurrence should be at the epicenter of any thoughtful multi-channel retail strategy.

Given the illustrated viability of the mobile marketplace witnessed in 2010, in coming posts, we will begin to examine the mobile approaches and tactics that are most effective for the fashion and luxury industries.

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