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What can mass fashion brands learn from the luxury retail sector



Published on: July 4, 2023

Updated: August 25, 2023

Fashion brands

Mass fashion brands should take note of the strategies being used by luxury retailers to enhance their customer experience, writes Tobias Buxhoidt, founder and CEO of post-purchase customer experience software provider parcelLab.


In the ever-changing, fast-paced world of retail, the luxury sector has consistently set the standard for exclusivity, quality, and personalized customer experiences. As highlighted in the recent Forrester Luxury report, luxury brands have recognized the importance of prioritizing digital customer experiences to drive overall sales and engagement.

The luxury retail sector has undergone significant transformations in recent years, largely driven by the shift toward digitalization and changing consumer preferences. These trends can also have a profound impact on mass fashion brands, as they can learn valuable lessons from the success of luxury retailers.

Hyper personalization for luxury fashion

One of the key ways in which luxury brands excel is in the way they customize their product offerings to their customers. They understand their target customers in-depth and tailor their products accordingly. Luxury retailers invest in extensive market research and customer insights to gain a deep understanding of their clientele. They analyze demographic data, lifestyle choices, purchasing behaviors, and even psychographic factors to develop comprehensive customer profiles. This knowledge allows them to curate unique and differentiated experiences that cater precisely to the needs and desires of their customer segments.

This level of hyper-personalization enables luxury retailers to offer tailored recommendations, customized products, and personalized marketing messages. By leveraging advanced technologies and data analytics, they can deliver highly relevant content and experiences that resonate with individual customers on a deep level. This attention to detail and customization creates a sense of exclusivity and makes customers feel valued and understood.

Mass fashion’s mass-market approach

In contrast, mass fashion brands often adopt a mass-market approach, attempting to appeal to a wide range of customers with a large variety of products. While this strategy allows for a broad reach, it often results in diluted brand identity and a lack of a strong connection with any particular customer segment. Without a clear understanding of their target audience, mass fashion brands may struggle to deliver personalized experiences that truly resonate with their customers.

However, by adopting a similar strategy that’s proven successful for luxury retailers, fashion retailers can prioritize the importance of building a deep understanding of their customers. They can invest in market research, conduct surveys, and focus groups, and leverage customer data analytics to gain insights into their target audience. By segmenting their customer base and identifying the unique preferences and needs of each segment, mass fashion brands can tailor their offerings and experiences to cater to specific customer groups. This level of customization and personalization can help them create stronger connections with their customers and drive brand loyalty.

What lessons can mass fashion brands learn from luxury

Mass fashion brands can learn several important lessons from the luxury retail sector to enhance their own product offerings and customer experiences.

Luxury brands have taught us that focusing on quality can be more impactful than producing a large quantity of items. Mass fashion brands should shift their attention from churning out numerous products to producing fewer, higher-quality items. By prioritising quality, these brands can cater to customers who value longevity, sustainability, and quality which, in turn, helps to build a loyal value-driven customer base.

Making clothes that last

In an era of fast fashion, where trends change rapidly and clothing is often disposable, mass fashion brands can set themselves apart by offering garments that are built to last. By investing in high-quality materials and attention to detail, creating an experience for the customer as opposed to simply offering a product whether that’s a shirt or dress, fashion retailers can positively contribute to the brand’s reputation and align with the values of conscious consumers who prioritize longevity and sustainability in their purchasing decisions.

Cultivate brand exclusivity

Those selling luxury items have also mastered the art of creating an exclusive and aspirational image. Mass fashion brands should explore ways to develop a sense of exclusivity and uniqueness within their product lines. Offering limited edition or custom-designed items can help tap into the desire for individuality, allowing customers to express their personal style while fostering a sense of loyalty towards the brand. By creating a sense of exclusivity, fashion retailers can differentiate themselves from their competitors and cultivate a dedicated following of customers who appreciate the brand’s distinctiveness.

To foster brand exclusivity, fashion retailers can explore collaborations with renowned designers or influencers, create limited edition capsule collections, or offer exclusive perks and benefits to their most loyal customers. By creating a sense of scarcity and desirability, these brands can generate buzz and excitement around their offerings. This approach not only drives sales but also strengthens the brand’s reputation and positions it as a trendsetter in the industry.

Prioritize the customer shopping experience

Luxury retailers understand the shopping experience is not solely about presenting products but rather about conveying a compelling story. Mass fashion brands should focus on curating the narrative behind their collections, highlighting the inspiration and values that differentiate them from their competitors. By prioritizing the customer journey and providing exceptional service, fashion retailers can create lasting impressions and forge stronger connections with their customers.

Fashion retailers can also take inspiration from luxury brands by investing in visual merchandising, creating aesthetically pleasing and immersive shopping environments, and providing knowledgeable and attentive retail assistants. By offering a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience, both online and offline, these brands can elevate their customers’ satisfaction and build trust. Additionally, utilizing technology such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual try-on experiences can further enhance the customer shopping journey, allowing customers to visualize products and make more informed purchase decisions.

Customization and personalization

Retailers in the luxury sector are very good at offering customized experiences and personalized products to their customers. Mass fashion brands can adopt similar strategies by incorporating customization options, allowing customers to personalize their purchases. This level of customization not only enhances the customer’s sense of individuality but also creates a deeper emotional connection with the brand.

Mass fashion brands can offer customization options such as monogramming and color choices to fit individual preferences. By involving customers in the design process, these brands empower them to create unique and meaningful pieces that reflect their personal style. This sense of ownership and personalization strengthens the customer’s bond with the brand, driving loyalty and repeat purchases.

Furthermore, fashion retailers can embrace flexibility by offering adaptable and versatile pieces that can be styled in multiple ways. This allows customers to express their creativity and versatility while maximizing the value of their purchases. By providing customers with more options and the ability to personalize their fashion choices, fashion brands can create a sense of empowerment and offer a differentiated experience.

Adopting a new approach

To effectively implement these lessons, fashion retailers need to adopt a mindset that streamlines their collections and focuses on quality to deliver a more refined and satisfying experience to their target audience.

First and foremost, fashion brands should invest in understanding their customers on a deeper level. This goes beyond demographics and basic preferences. By conducting in-depth market research, analyzing customer data, and actively seeking feedback, brands can gain valuable insights into the desires, aspirations, and pain points of their target audience. This information serves as a foundation for tailoring product offerings, marketing messages, and shopping experiences to meet their customers’ specific needs.

Secondly, delivering on the lessons learned from the luxury retail sector requires leveraging technology and using it at scale. Technology enables mass fashion brands to collect and analyze vast amounts of customer data, automate processes, and deliver personalized experiences at scale. Advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms can provide valuable insights into customer preferences, enabling brands to make data-driven decisions and deliver targeted recommendations. Additionally, the integration of customer relationship management (CRM) systems and e-commerce platforms can facilitate seamless communication and personalized interactions throughout the customer journey.

Thirdly, while digital touchpoints play a crucial role in today’s retail landscape, it’s important not to overlook the significance of offline touchpoints. Establishing physical stores or pop-up experiences allows customers to immerse themselves in the brand’s world, providing a tangible and memorable experience that digital channels alone cannot replicate. Offline touchpoints provide an opportunity for customers to see, touch, and try on products, fostering a deeper connection with the brand. By creating inviting and interactive retail spaces, fashion retailers can enhance the overall customer experience and strengthen their brand presence.

When putting these lessons into action, it’s essential for mass fashion brands to remain authentic and true to their brand identity. This can be achieved by identifying a niche market, emphasizing the brand’s heritage or values, or highlighting sustainable practices. By differentiating themselves from the competition and staying true to their core values, mass fashion brands can attract a dedicated customer base that resonates with their brand story.

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