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Mar 21, 2022

The future of luxury is still very much in brick-and-mortar stores. 

Not online, despite many consumers having been forced to become more literate vis-à-vis online purchasing since COVID. Luxury is not a commodity, not needed, not repeatable, not an afterthought. Gaining time and getting a deal is essential for commodities. 

Spending time and money and feeling good about it is the principle of luxury.

Luxury will remain a purchase with a purpose, a space where brands count – and will retain pricing power.

Stores are much better adapted to developing an emotional tie between consumer and the brand. Telling a story in store is easier than it is online. Shopping is social. Done well, it is a communal experience. Shopping online is not remotely comparable. 

The exclusivity factor also plays a role. 

“If it is luxury, it should be limited distribution. 

E-commerce is innately democratic, luxury is not.

For a while now at Nike, you have been able to try on a pair of sneakers in store and have them shipped to your home for no fee, which will avoid you having to carry the box around all day. This is now described as “phygital” a seamless and unified brand experience that offers the best of physical and digital platforms. 

Gucci also announced that in certain cities around the globe, they would deliver a selection of Gucci items from “store to door” in ninety minutes.

Do you need that handbag in the next hour?

There are considerations beyond convenience. If you want a custom experience, custom service, product personalisation, and a unique memory of how exciting it was to hold or wear your product for the first time, e-commerce has limitations that in-store can exploit.

The irreplaceable value of real-life experience will ensure the future of luxury includes a heavy reliance on physical stores. 

Particularly if luxury stores adapt to better serve and connect to customers. 

More luxury stores will be unique, “third places” (not work, not home) that offer opportunities for learning, community, networking and entertainment, in addition to selling watches and handbags.

There is the potential for stores to become places for “story doing” beyond just “story telling”. 

Gucci Wooster features a screening room with custom 3D screen technology, headphones and armchairs in turmeric velvet. 

The multi-sensorial space also features resident DJ’s and has a dedicated in-store Gucci app utilising augmented reality allowing the customer to point a provided iPad’s or iPhone’s camera at the tote and sneaker, customise it, and see it in a real-world setting. 

Check it out Here!