Building Customer Loyalty in Luxury Fashion Retail

The rise of independent designers and retailers within the Artisanal/Avant-Garde niche satisfies an obsession for all things meaningful and handmade.

Luxury fashion retailers should devise loyalty programmes that truly speak to their affluent audience and differentiate from those of non-luxury brands’.

The online luxury market that digital commerce has opened up has meant that audiences now have unprecedented access to luxury brands—luxury retailers not only go head-to-head with their luxury counterparts but also have to compete with non-luxury brands.

Customer loyalty in luxury retail can seem challenging especially given its saturated landscape where customer sentiments shift regularly. However, it shouldn’t be overlooked. Loyalty not only has the potential to increase financial return but more importantly builds an emotional bond between brand and customer. That’s as valuable as light in the luxury sector (and indeed outside of it), where variety of choice and convenience often overshadow brand loyalty. Loyalty programmes are a great way for luxury fashion retailers to understand and evolve with their affluent audience over time, as they highlight insights that allow retailers to tailor their communications efforts. 

Loyalty programmes aren’t one size fits all. While cash-back and discount rewards might do the trick for some, for luxury retailers it takes a considered strategy that speaks personally to, and adds value to affluent audiences’ lives.


Rewards that matter 

Rewards that offer personalised experiences which add value to consumers’ lives and offer emotional incentives should be prioritised over materialistic tactics. A concierge service or personal consultation could be a much more valued reward than a cash-back deal. For an audience that sees luxury goods as second nature, meaningful experiences and a great relationship with a member of the retailer’s staff outshines materialistic rewards. While luxury audiences appreciate value for money as much as anyone else, it may not be their biggest motivation.


Back to basics

Understanding the ins and outs of a luxury retailer’s audience lays the all important foundation for a tailored strategy. Digging beneath data and facts to grasp the audience’s motivations and a wholesome picture of the lifestyles they inhabit will shed light on rewards that aren’t only beneficial to them, but meaningful too. Audience research helps retailers identify their distinct target segments in the initial stages of planning. During implementation of the programme, data should continue to be collected, revealing new insights that’ll help retailers tailor their programmes as their audiences evolve.


360º brand experience

The present day consumer expects brands to offer them a consistent experience across communication channels and across all devices. Luxury fashion retail is certainly no different, and if anything audiences’ experience of luxury retail should be more personalised yet flow between physical and digital seamlessly. An omnichannel approach is key, as consumers should be able to receive rewards for their loyalty no matter how or where they access the brand. Offering exclusive access on different devices isn’t only a great way to attract engagement across channels, but will also help map out a retailer’s audience segments and the different brand touchpoints that appeal to each.


Exclusive Status

One of the fundamentals of luxury is of course, exclusivity. Luxury retail strives to make its affluent audience feel special, and loyalty programmes should be an extension of that. Consumers of luxury brands feel as if they’re part of an exclusive club whether it be a game or a symbol of distinction—loyalty programmes should acknowledge their members’ status. Introducing tiers as gateways to a variety of exclusive experiences such as private viewings and shows afforded to members only, could spark new audience motivations that increase brand loyalty. Partnering with an appropriate luxury contemporary that provides a slightly different offering could present audiences with a wider combined offering, and a more valued one-off experience.

Customer loyalty shouldn’t be taken for granted, particularly given an increasingly saturated and competitive luxury retail landscape. If retailers wish to cultivate the emotional bond they share with their affluent audiences, they should strategically devise loyalty programmes that offer personalised experiences and stand out from those of non-luxury brands’. Rewards that offer authenticity and genuine consideration of what’s meaningful to audiences, continual audience research, and an omnichannel brand strategy are key. Acknowledging the members status of luxury brands’ audiences should be another extension of the exclusivity that retailers strive to provide.



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