The Luxury Market Is Struggling But A New Video Tool Could Help Recreate White Glove Service

The luxury market has been hit particularly hard in recent months, with a recent McKinsey study finding spring sales had dropped by as much as 70% compared to 2019. White glove, in-store service has been a staple of the luxury retail experience, so the closure of stores has created another barrier for brands looking to connect with consumers. But a new video tool by retail solutions provider Immerss could help bridge the gap.

“Luxury is about building a relationship between the brand and consumer,” said Arthur Veytsman, CEO at Immerss. “Our solution is all about that human-to-human connection that is hard to replace.”

With Immerss, a consumer can call into the store through its e-commerce platform, on either web or mobile channels. Once connected with a store associate, the customer and associate can speak to each other and view products over video call, while also accessing the relevant product information in a split screen experience.

The associate also receives live access to the customer's purchase history and recently viewed products, so that they can make more tailored recommendations. They are able to scan the barcodes of items they are showcasing, which draws up the product information on screen for the consumer to review. The shopper can then complete any purchases online in a private checkout screen, for security purposes.

“There are several criteria that make the Immerss platform applicable,” said Veytsman. “The product needs to be demonstrable, the average order value needs to be high enough to justify a human involvement and it needs to be a purchasable online transaction. Beyond that, our platform is applicable to many verticals, from home goods to electronics.”

The Immerss call screen is split between live video and e-commerce tools; customers can access product information and perform checkout without leaving their consultation.

Luxury boot brand Lucchese has used the platform in partnership with other promotions to encourage engagement, while still being mindful of consumer priorities. The brand issued coupon codes that could only be redeemed by connecting with a sales associate through the live video format; a portion of those proceeds was then donated to COVID-19 charity efforts.

While the Immerss application is a useful way to close the distance between shopper and associate during the COVID-19 pandemic, the tool was designed pre-pandemic. Immerss has enabled associates to use the application from home, but Veytsman said there is longer term value for brands that utilize the solution.

“E-commerce exists for many reasons; sometimes it's a necessity but sometimes it is convenience,” said Veytsman. “Being able to shop ‘in person' with a sales associate you really connected with while vacationing is a great example.”

Luxury purchases are frequently made by consumers while traveling; the McKinsey study found that 20-30% of luxury purchases are made by shoppers outside of their home country. Being able to virtually visit an international favorite may lead to repeat purchases, without the commitment of a trip abroad. More broadly, seeing a live video of an untried product and receiving expert guidance on fit can help minimize the consumer risk for anyone purchasing remotely.

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