Re-invent and Re-imagine
How brands create true consumer experience.
Whilst the decline on the high street cannot be ignored, some stores are thriving and in particular the beauty and jewellery sector whose services and emotional connection with the consumer cannot yet be truly replicated on line. It made me ponder about the subtle difference of how we shop – what we need as opposed to what we want. Need is a very non-emotional convenience and the easier and quicker these goods can be researched, acquired and sent to us by the next day delivery the better.Want however is a very different emotion. Want is about engaging with the brand and brand story and creating an emotional connection between the brand, the product and the consumer. Brands that want to tap into this emotion need to strive for a mix of service leisure, events and storytelling that delivers surprise and delight.
Traditional retail spaces designed for the sole aim of selling products are outdated but instead designing a space to deliver innovative, immersive and most importantly, connected brand experience, will create a difference in the market place and help generate sales, both online and in store. Experience won’t just sell products, experience will be the product. To achieve true customer experience means deconstructing the entire customer journey into the smallest component parts and then re-engineering each component to look, feel and most importantly operate differently. It takes a willingness to ‘reinvent’, ‘re-imagine and reconnect’ and take risks.
VASHI, the diamond and luxury jewellery brand, presents an alternative to traditional boutiques, taping into the deep emotion of creating jewellery and offering clients a truly personal yet relaxed and easily accessible experience. Assisted by craftsmen, known as Alchemists, customers create their own piece of jewellery in-store, from initial design through to diamond and stone selection at the diamond bar and then to setting in the in-store diamond lab. Each journey is personal, curated and each journey is unique. The process allows customers to explore not only craft and innovation but also to create a truly unique and deeply meaningful piece. Driven by the notion of “I made this for you”, Vashi has completely de-constructed the customer journey by putting the customer at the centre of the narrative and the workshop at the heart of the experience.
Re-imagine and Re-connect
Branded jewellery is on the rise. In the past, most of the growth in branded jewellery came from the expansion of established jewellery brands, such as Cartier and Tiffany & Co., by contrast, future growth in branded jewellery is likely to come from non-jewellery players in adjacent categories such as high-end apparel or leather goods—companies like Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Gucci—introducing jewellery collections or expanding their assortment. A new generation of customer is more interested in showing off wearable and recognisable branded design, like Gucci, where jewellery isn’t their core business but have the ability and freedom to make high quality jewellery with a different aesthetic that is much more innovative than the collections of the more classic jewellery brands.
Similarly “The Perfume of Gems” publication by Bulgari highlights the link between the high-end jewellery and high-end perfumery collections retracing historical origins precious gems and cultural references and translating them into scents. Both are an example of re-connecting the consumer with the brand story and weaving it into every customer interaction using a different language, new products, methods and process.
Tiffany opened up its first pop up in August 2018 in London’s Covent Garden. Rather than just a flagship and unlike any other space the brand has traded from, Tiffany have embarked on a series of smaller connected engaging spaces, events and new products launches that differentiates the brand in the customers mind. This is an example of an agile approach to physical retail with the store expected to close early 2019.
The space has been designed to present the brand as interactive and playful with a fragrance vending machine, personalisation bar, dwell and events space, plus neon lit walls for those instagramable moments. The look and feel of the store and its location is different with the brand reaching out to the next generation of Tiffany shoppers. With its Everyday Objects collection Tiffany refreshes its product range by creating exclusive products and collectables to appeal to the millennial shopper. A great example of customised products to create demand and creating a one to one’ connection with the customers.
Achieving these levels of customer experience is not easy but requires a significant re-inventing of the current process and connecting with your consumer on an emotional level. It requires re-imagining how your brand story is told, and reconnecting with the consumer by refreshing and personalising your product. Most importantly it requires bold, agile, design thinking, as well as a trusting client and designer relationship with a shared vision.