[Investigation] What’s new in Luxury Retail? (Part 3/4)

As seen in the first part, department stores and luxury boutiques compete in ingenuity to capture the attention of their customers and arouse their desire. More than a scenographic design, it is about knowing and serving the customer better. In this field, they can make the difference with e-commerce platforms unable to provide a wide range of emotions born of a unique, memorable, and fundamentally human customer experience.


Dive into the heart of retail, the historical model of luxury distribution, in the light of the post-Covid era and the extended virtual worlds of Web 3.


The sales advisor: spearheading luxury clienteling 3.0


As the first line of defense in the 2020-2022 period, with the unexpected closure of points of sale, the sales advisor is more than ever at the heart of the luxury customer experience. A return to the basics that goes hand in hand with customers’ thirst for human contact. To guarantee excellence in execution and the quality of the relationship, luxury brands are now focusing on the symmetry of attention by increasing the skills of their retail teams. To guarantee an exceptional and memorable customer experience, sales consultants must be properly trained and aligned with the values of the brand.


In direct contact with customers, the advisor remains the holder of rare and precious knowledge: the fears and desires of luxury customers.


Despite this crucial role as ambassador of the House and guarantor of the customer’s delight, job offers in retail are hard to convince. This is also true for young graduates of business and marketing schools. However, this does not consider that such courses are career gas pedals, especially for marketing positions.


This is a major problem for a luxury industry that has become considerably “retailized” over the last thirty years. During the previous Me & You Discovery Day dedicated to exceptional professions, Chantal Gaemperle, Director of Human Resources and Synergies for the LVMH group, confirmed that there is a shortage of this profile, in addition to that of craftsmen.


It must be said that the profession has remained associated with an unflattering image inherited from the post-war period. A period marked by rationing and almost non-existent international competition. But unlike consumer products – capable of selling themselves according to the precepts of marketing – luxury goods, on the other hand, have always made their assisted sales a strength.


However, the unattractive salary and long working hours are other recurrent stumbling blocks. Fortunately, there are ways to improve.


The sales consultant: a central role


To enhance the profession, potential candidates and all departments must be made aware of the central role of the sales consultant in the luxury experience. This is why many brands have launched their own training schools, to harmonize know-how and further professionalize the sales ceremony. The latest initiative is the opening by Hermès in 2022 of a store-school dedicated to its sales staff. This will be based on the same model as the much more widespread establishments dedicated to craftsmanship.


The profession, faced with a rise in digital usage, must accept the fact that the House’s e-commerce site is, first and foremost, a complementary sales channel for the in-store consultant and not a competitor. In a positive way, perhaps we should see this as a change of profession for this advisor, who becomes a kind of “personal shopper” for whom the mastery of social networks and data becomes essential to shaping a seamless customer experience. Nicolas Rebet (Retailoscope) points out that the salesperson’s and buyer’s personal mobile has gained a prominent place in the in-store experience.


The director of Harrods department store – present at the NRF – does not say otherwise to justify his partnership with Farfetch. For him, “reproducing through digital everything the customer wants with a personal shopper, establishing customer knowledge through their purchases, predicting their needs and behaviors before the customer even knows it will be the next big thing.”


© Gucci





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Featured photo : © Gucci

Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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