How luxury retail has evolved online


Repeated closures around the world have wreaked havoc on the retail world, from luxury flagships attracting tourists to neighborhood outposts, from multi-brand department stores on suburban belts to Main Street hot spots. . Traffic in the retail corridors slowed, store doors were closed, and shop windows boarded up, some including pillars like Neiman Marcus, Century 21 and Brooks Brothers, never to reopen, or Debenhams and Topshop to enter administration.

To survive, brands have had to adapt to new dimensions of the digital world, where innovations in e-commerce are essential, not only on websites, but also on social media – from Instagram to WeChat – too. According to McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2020 report, 13% of European consumers were, due to the pandemic, ready to browse e-merchants for the first time this year, while in April, a quarter of American and European shoppers were set to spend online using social networks. In November 2020, LVMH announced the creation of a conglomerate-wide “omnichannel leader” position, in response to the boom in luxury online shopping.

From 3D store experiences to AR locker rooms, from Savile Row robots to purchasable Instagram filters, there is a plethora of innovative and immersive solutions brands have today for spending online. Here we bring together the brands and boutiques that are leading the way.


For those who want to shop for the sophisticated and relaxed styles of New York-based label Khaite, from her hand-knitted looped Sile hoodie with dropped shoulders to her sweetheart Allegra dress, digital help is at your fingertips. . To celebrate the launch of its Fall / Winter 2021 collection, the brand has launched an exclusive partnership with fitting technology pioneers Bods, resulting in an immersive digital experience that allows shoppers to view pieces on a replica of their own. body, and note how they drape, grip, and sculpt.

To create their digital alias, customers must submit two photographs, one in profile and one face, along with input measurements, including height. Once their avatar starts showing, they can then adjust their personal physique based on skin tone, chest, and body curves. It’s not only expert infographics that let you simulate clothing to a complex version of your own body, Khaite’s tactile, sculptural and sultry creations are also presented in expert likeness. Each digital clothing design has been constructed using original patterns to ensure it is accurately represented in 3D in real time.

Can’t decide on the flowing sleeve cardigans or the tight fitting leather jacket from Khaite? Now you can try both with online ease and customer confidence.

PE Nation

Virtual fitting room by PE Nation

Virtual dressing room, by PE Nation

For the launch of PE Nation’s sustainable ski collection – an offering of alpine essentials in retro tones and contrasting colors made from recycled fabrics – the Sydney-based brand launched an Instagram filter inspired by dressing rooms, allowing for shoppers to try on three ski jackets online. “We decided to work with the Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF) which is recognized worldwide for the production of digital clothing, to have a strong ethic of sustainability, inclusiveness and constant innovation in the field of fashion” , says co-founder Pip Edwards, of The Filter, which showcases impeccably lifelike garments that have been delivered in point-to-point 3D, right down to the last faux fur glitter. “This extraordinarily large file was then carefully manipulated to fit into Instagram’s small frame of space by reducing the poly count,” Edwards adds.

In a snowy whirlwind, shoppers sport PE Nation ski jackets in a series of enchanting alpine backgrounds, allowing them to escape to icy heights online. “The background scenes are a manipulation of several different places, created by the digital environmentalists of IoDF, inspired by our moodboards,” says Edwards. They look like perfection surrounded by pine trees.


Ace Sneaker Try On, by Gucci

Ace Sneaker Try On, by Gucci

In June 2019, Gucci became the first fashion brand to integrate augmented reality into its app, allowing fans of the brand’s GG logo and star-patterned Ace sneakers to virtually try on their favorite styles. For this innovative launch, the Florentine house collaborated with Belarusian startup Wannaby, which seeks to resolve the mismatch between online goods and the home buyer. It launched the AR sneaker trial app Wanna Kicks in January 2019, which garnered 500,000 organic users in the early days of its launch. For Gucci’s Ace Sneaker Try On technology, sneakerheads can select the Ace styles of their choice, point their mobile device’s camera at their own feet to virtually try on the pair of their choice. They can also take their favorite styles and share them through social media.

Gucci’s commitment to immersive shopping technology goes hand in hand with its renewed commitment to customer service. In April 2019, she opened the Global Client Service Center, a 2,300 m² space in Florence, with over 150 multilingual client advisers, who support clients in 26 countries via email, phone and live chat. The brand also plans to expand with six other global centers, from New York to Seoul, which will be designed to resemble the brand’s physical stores and provide more localized customer service experiences.


Custom teleportation services, by Huntsman

Custom teleportation services, by Huntsman

The sense of touch is an integral part of Savile Row’s bespoke clothing industry. So when social distancing prevented Huntsman cutters and tailors from fitting clients in their Mayfair outpost or traveling to visit them across the world, they knew they had to provide an alternative cut. state-of-the-art digital technology. Enter, Mr. Hammick, Huntsman’s first telepresence robot, named after his famous’ 70s head cutter, who, with the help of a local assistant, travels to meet with clients and performs assembly tasks directed from Huntsman’s Cutter in London or New York.

Mr. Hammick – who has a touchscreen display and robotic arm – can be maneuvered remotely – allowing Huntsman’s cutters, which appear via a live video link, to maneuver around the body and zoom, to recording and photographing specific garment details, and being with their client virtually from build to final fit. By eliminating physical travel, the service actually speeds up the personalization process and allows for greater flexibility of appointments.

There are other elements of Huntsman’s home-focused efforts. This includes Hero, a live video chat for shopping, and Toshi, a white glove delivery service, allowing customers to receive coins at their doorstep and, with the help of an assistant, pin and to measure the clothes according to the specificity of their choice.

Salvatore Ferragamo

Tramezza - The future of craftsmanship, by Salvatore Ferragamo

Some lament the difficulty of buying shoes online – it is difficult to decide on the size and assess the quality of a workmanship or the depth of a shade of leather. But fans of Ferragamo’s classic Tramezza shoe need not worry, as the Italian brand has developed an immersive shopping experience, in collaboration with Microsoft, that allows them to customize their favorite style and see the result. In 3D.

Leveraging Microsoft’s Hevolus Augmented Store at Home platform, Ferragamo allows the customer to custom order their Tramezza shoe using an online selection tool, which offers a 3D reproduction in a multitude of materials, from lizard suede, colors including red, stone and black and hardware details. If they need more personalized help, shoppers can connect with a seller through an online appointment, who, equipped with a Microsoft HoloLens 2 holographic computer, can virtually walk into their dressing room. digital, view and advise on its selections. At the end of the appointment, customers can also see a digital twin of their Tramezza shoe in augmented reality.

Christian Dior

Virtual Perfume Consultation, by Dior

There is something enchanting about walking into the beauty department of a boutique and capturing the aroma of a perfume that suits you perfectly. There isn’t much of a sensory stimulant to making an online scent purchase, but the virtual Dior perfume consultation provides a well-scented antidote. The service, hosted by UK fragrance ambassador for French house Carl Groenewald, live from the Dior fragrance salon in Harrods, London, allows customers to book a fragrance consultation online, before receiving a tester set. of perfume, including mini samples of heroes’ perfumes at their home. Groenewald then talks to customers about each scent, including the spicy, woody notes of Purple Oud and the smoky incense aroma of Bois d’Argent, before they make their final decision.

In April, Dior also launched its first virtual beauty boutique, bringing the walls of its boutique on Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris to home customers. Here, beauty fans can tour the brand space using clickable arrow tools, and watch short films related to Dior products, before making a purchase.



Virtual tryout, by Browns

Sneakerheads and watch obsessives rejoice! Browns’ latest Virtual Try – powered by its Browns Fashion mobile app, lets customers try on their favorite sneaker or watch, using AR technology, from the comfort of their own homes. “As augmented reality technology has evolved over the past few years, we’ve seen tremendous potential in bringing physical store experiences into the palm of your hands – in particular, ‘a virtual trial’,” said Mohammed Said. , director of technology and products at Browns, from launch. This was developed in collaboration with Farfetch. By simply pointing their phone’s camera at a heel or wrist, Browns fans can practically sport a selection of styles, including sneakers, a Converse top, oversized Alexander McQueen sneakers and White Clean 90 socks from Axel Arigato.

Browns’ Virtual Try On technology responds to the growth in the shoe and watch categories experienced by the London-based retailer, connecting the dots between its e-commerce arm and home customers. “With the global pandemic preventing many of our customers from going to stores, we have ramped up our investment in this space,” Said said. Start working on your AR angles now. §

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