How to Emerge As A Stronger Luxury Brand In The Post-COVID Era
During the unexpected events of COVID-19, many luxury brands were forced to close or scale down much of their operations, resulting in huge industry-wide declines. According to a report by BCG, even the most optimistic forecasts for the global luxury market show a drop from -35% to -45% in 2020 with sales of luxury personal goods expected to decrease from -25% to -45%.
Furthermore, with many left unemployed or with a reduction in pay, the amount of disposable income has likely left people searching for lower-priced alternatives of the items they used to buy in the past (pre-March 2020). Therefore, the need for a different, online approach, has become front-of-mind for the premium brands that are forward-thinking and not just focused on survival, but on growth again.
As eCommerce SEO specialists who have worked with over 80 eCom brands including luxury brands, we’ve always emphasized on the motto: “own your space”. For us, this means owning the organic market and keyword rankings, but this can also span to owning the online market share with other forms of marketing, e.g. paid advertising, YouTube ads etc. Now, more than ever, “owning your space” has become even more important, and here are 3 top tips on how to do it:
1) Target your niche
This might seem like a given, but don’t be tempted to try and appeal to anyone and everyone in a panic to win customers back. The thing that made you a luxury brand in the first place is your uniqueness to appeal to a niche, so it’s better to keep targeting that niche but in different ways that will continue to appeal to your target customer. For example:
-Can you offer discounts/a sale now to appease those desiring luxury but fearing financial uncertainty?
-Are you regularly communicating with your customers over email?
-How easy is the website to navigate?
Online will now be a huge way for luxury brands to target their niche. And, with many staying home more often there will be a lower need for print and cinema advertising, and more need for being present in people’s homes during these times.
2) Volumes will be lower, but your relevancy will be higher
From an SEO perspective, Google (& all other search engines) are now hugely focused more on the relevancy of a result/site, than anything else. Therefore the more targeted + relevant your content, the more likely you are to reach your target audience, albeit a smaller market size. Take us, NOVOS, for example. We write blogs on our site that tackle specific problems with a CMS like Shopify and how to get around it. The reason we do this is because we know our target audience of eCommerce managers search these in the hope of sorting it themselves. It’s very niche, and we don’t get lots of traffic to them, but when we do, they’re who we want to help.
The same principle applies to any digital marketing you do as a luxury brand. You shouldn’t be aiming to please anyone and everyone in panic/response to the global crisis, instead, stay true to your branding and deliver what your ideal customer has always wanted, and now possibly something new they want from you.
An example here is a luxury clothing brand we work with. Our strategy pre-COVID was to target lower-volume terms such as blue cotton men’s shirts, but that had huge relevancy to them & could help them to literally own the material + product + men’s space. The mass appeal won’t really get you those important bottom-line ££ wins, and as a luxury brand, this is even more true.
3) Be innovative, and lead the change
It’s far too easy to see competitors with beautiful designs on the website, lovely million-dollar ads, & a clean approach to social media where the brand doesn’t openly respond to any customers. In the past, you may have gotten away with being perceived as a luxury brand for these things, now, you need to lead the change and become a new type of luxury brand.
We’re recommending all of our luxury clients to forget a slim-site and to start opening up deeper category pages e.g. blue, red, white, yellow shirts. Materials too, e.g. linen, cashmere etc. Finally, benefits, e.g. luxury. Optimising a site towards luxury seems silly, and even a given, but it’s what your audience wants. All of this will enable you to target more specific longer-tail search queries and reach your desired audience who are more likely to buy than someone just searching “men’s shirts”.
This goes across all marketing you do as a luxury eCommerce brand – keep your unique identity, but don’t be afraid to try the things online that your competitors aren’t. Your current, and new, customers will thank you for it in the long run.
Make sure to focus less on mass appeal as a luxury brand, and more on reaching your hyper-targeted niche through longer-tail keyword targeting, analysing what social channels your customers are on, & offering customers something during these times to give them confidence that it’s OK to still shop luxury. A long term strategy appeasing these things will set you up for major success vs your competitors in the future.
Credit: The Drum