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How luxury brands can elevate their ecommerce experiences



How luxury brands can elevate their ecommerce experiences

When flying first class, you’re on the same plane as everyone else, but the individual experience is vastly different. From more leg room to attentive service, this experience is everything. Experience ensures your customers can see and feel the value when they decide to spend the extra investment with you.

Similarly, the luxury retail environment is defined by its attentive store staff, VIP treatment, exclusive vibe and highly personalized experience.

Bespoke product recommendations and personal engagement give the buyer confidence in their purchase at such a high price point and offer a high-end, enjoyable experience. For many luxury customers, an in-person visit to a luxury store is a special treat they enjoy and look forward to, and the retail experience is as important as the items themselves.

Pivoting to digital

In the last few years, brands have had to move away from the traditional brick and mortar experience of in-store sales, pivoting to online retail as their customers spent less time on the high street, with 17,219 chain stores closing in Britain in 2021.

However, with a strong wariness of ecommerce as ‘inherently antiluxury’, luxury goods made no rush to move into the world of online retail – the sector had no ambition to be like Amazon’s ‘everything store’ or even a high-end department store with a one-click and buy experience.

In 2018, only 10% of luxury purchases were made online. While this was up 4% from 2017, pre-pandemic spending habits meant luxury retail was primarily focused on in-person experiences, with their online offerings often acting as an “aspirational showcase” rather than a purchasing opportunity.

Leveraging ecommerce for luxury products

But today’s intelligent tech is now able to adapt online experiences to individuals, providing personalization akin to a personal shopper in stores in the world of luxury ecommerce. The ability to make an experience all about polished fashion relevant to the individual, using customer data, means that luxury and ecommerce can now go together like Beyoncé and Balmain at Coachella in 2018. Spearheaded by some of the most exclusive brands, the time has come for luxury retail to step onto the ecommerce runway.

So, how can the ecommerce experience mirror the luxury retail experience?

1. Provide a seamless UX/UI experience

Many luxury ecommerce sites end up with a poor user experience, as they’re more focused on setting themselves apart from normal retailers. When it comes to UX, luxury sites are defined by difficulty finding items, limited photos or product details, and confusing terminology, leaving customers feeling confused and resulting in an industry average bounce rate of 46%. The balance must be found between conveying exclusivity while avoiding a frustrating user experience.

It doesn’t need to be a choice between a luxury experience or good usability. Luxury brands switching to ecommerce need to make sure their digital customer service is as impeccable as their in-person experience. The key to providing a seamless, premium experience lies in focusing on excellent UX and UI principles.

2. A flawless web design that matches your products

Many luxury brands view their items as works of art, and this must be reflected in the ecommerce sphere. The decision-making process for luxury purchases is highly emotional, and requires product details that spark interest, balancing visual design with other priorities. A beautiful, clear design conveys quality and exclusivity while also providing a frictionless user experience.

Known as a market leader in balancing visual design and usability, Rolex’s digital experience reflects its watches. Its online presence boasts minimalist visual design and large, clear photography, while keeping content easy to scan and understand.

3. Avoid last season’s technology

One way of retaining the personal touch in the world of ecommerce is by harnessing the potential of developments in the metaverse and augmented reality. Gucci’s iOS app has an AR try-on feature for accessories and makeup and luxury brand Neiman Marcus has developed a mobile app, where personal shoppers can advise customers on what to buy.

Other brands have digital salespeople who can answer customer questions aided by a live camera, which can zoom in and display different angles as they point out product features. By moving those relationships online, luxury businesses have focused on new sales channels such as WhatsApp and Zoom – and WeChat in China – to offer more personalized transactions and meaningful interactions.

Some brands are doing this particularly well – Chanel with ‘Reincarnation’ and Armani with its ‘Tweet Talks’ where it acts as host for conversations on relevant topics.

Harnessing this technology preserves the hard-won personal relationships luxury brands have always had with their high-net worth customers and can allow them to reach more customers unrestricted by geographical considerations.

4. Use personalization and data to curate online experiences like a well-tailored suit

The real opportunity for luxury brands in the world of ecommerce is to use personalization and data to reinforce those personal relationships with their customers. In real life, highly trained staff members remember details about shoppers and their past purchases. In the world of ecommerce, the brand has arguably much more insight into the right product recommendations and therefore, the best upselling strategies.

Personalization also offers the consumer quick access to relevant special events, styling suggestions or help with product repairs. Harnessing tools such as Contentsquare or Optimizely allow these brands to effectively use all the data available to them, to improve results, identify customers, test content and identify why potential purchasers drop off. By understanding the benefit of customer data, brands can improve the digital experience they offer and drive higher sales and better engagement.

This is the luxury industry’s opportunity to explore, using insights gleaned from online user behavior to enhance customer-salesperson relationships, not replace them – offering an online journey that matches the very best in-store purchasing experience.

Unsure where to begin?

If you’re ready to craft a luxury ecommerce offering for your customers, sign up for a free optimization workshop where we’ll help you rapidly identify quick wins to help improve the luxury experience of your digital product.

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State of Content Marketing in 2023



State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]



Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand


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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow



MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.

Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 

Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.

Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.

Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 

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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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