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Shopping Centre Marketing: Luxury is Your Crystal Ball

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Want to know what’s coming your way in the shopping centre category?  Luxury will tell you.

When you want to know what’s coming next in fashion, you keep your eyes on the couture runway shows in Paris, Milan, London and New York.  The ‘trickle down’ for trends starts there.  Colours and fads usually take a season or two to filter into the mainstream in North America (although this time frame is shortening up dramatically), and you can make an educated guess at determining which of the artistic elements are likely to make it big with the masses if you study your trends.

Why is this important?  It’s important because you’re shooting your campaigns so far in advance.  You need to anticipate what your retailers will sell and what your customers will love so that you can lure those customers into your mall with your beautiful brand imagery and increase your traffic, your sales per square foot and your marketing ROI.

But what else can watching the luxury markets tell you?  What future do they foreshadow?

Here are three things to patiently observe that will help you see into the future:

  1. Brand is sacred.

This is actually not new news, but observing how the top luxury brands understand, value, covet, protect and present their brand is something to behold.  At the 2016 FT Business of Luxury Summit in San Francisco, Tiffany & Co. CEO, Frederic Cumenal, boldly stated, “Tiffany’s is celebrating no changes.” Now this is not entirely true as they do continue to introduce new lines each season.  However, Cumenal spoke eloquently about the idea that as humans, “we long for meaning in what does not change.” Tiffany’s ‘icon’ pieces have stayed true to its original designs and these are pieces that people still want today. Simply put, Cumenal said that for Tiffany & Co. ‘love is love:’ ageless and eternal.   Crystal Ball:  Take a good look at your brand and determine what in its heritage must be protected at all costs. Make sure you are expressing it a relevant way that is appropriate for today.

  1. Print Is Not Dead. Long Live The Magazine!

Contrary to what some believe, when it comes to fashion, magazines work.  Readers love to touch, feel and keep beautiful, inspiring pieces.  Many luxury brands are not only making sure they are seen in all the right places online, they are obsessed with being in the right places offline.  Niche magazines and product placement are de rigour.  Most luxury brands have rich stories to tell and images to share and a magazine feature or story can be extremely powerful.

Print publications have a longer lifespan that today’s digital click-bait stream.  While Instagram is clearly one of the fashion industry’s best friends, an article in a magazine has way greater potential to make an indelible impression on someone’s heart and soul.   Crystal Ball:  Don’t dismiss print!  Magazines could be the hub of a successful, meaningful content strategy with a strong ROI.

  1. Customer Journey: Make it first class.

When Tesla opened in malls, tongues wagged – were they crazy?  With 100 stores, Tesla is not only learning a lot through conversations with thousands of people, they are also using their stores to tell their story and build relationships through experience. Tesla looked at websites that inform and keep you engaged, and that very clever thinking informed their store designs.  They’ve made their stores ‘sticky’ and people hang out and engage with the brand on many levels.  Crystal Ball: Shopping centers need to be open to new ideas – maybe more pop ups, different store concepts, new  services.  The key for shopping centers will be creating an experience so people want to spend more time and ultimately money at the mall.

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