C & Friends | Luxury shopping in a connected world

Today, our guest Mighty Things talks to us about the future of shopping experience thanks to the tech revolution.

Luxury retail is a big business. According a recent study by Altagamma, the Italian industry association, and the consulting firm Bain & Company, worldwide sales of personal luxury goods are estimated to have reached more than $249 billion, in 2014, up 5 percent from 2013.

The thriving business of “high-end” retail is also becoming more complex, as the worlds of “bricks” (physical stores) and “clicks” (digital) continue to collide. Before making an in store purchase, 75% of high-end shoppers research products online, according research from Google. The fashion and luxury category has also the highest level of mobile adoption. In the US, for example, mobile already accounts for 33% of total e-commerce transactions in the category. Not only e-commerce and m-commerce drive sales, but they also increase foot traffic into physical stores.

neiman marcus

But today, we are already past the mobile tipping point. Customer expectations are changing: it’s not about store, desktop, mobile or even social media anymore. In a frictionless world where everything is connected, luxury goods shoppers start to expect nothing less than a seamless experience that turns the act of shopping into a near-perfect science. In 2013, the Neiman Marcus department store chain even merged its store and e-commerce teams to be omni-channel at the core and deliver the best possible shopping experiences to their high-end customers.


With the Internet of Things gathering pace this year, there are even less excuses for a mediocre retail experience in the luxury market. For example, iBeacons, the indoor proximity system launched by Apple, are changing the game to engage with customers at a more personal level before, during and after each visit. From real-time in-store inventory to targeted marketing solutions and personal messages, the proximity marketing potential of iBeacons to add significant value to the relationship is endless.

virtual reality

And this is just the beginning. We think the store of the future will pretty much be the same, with probably even more human touch when it comes to luxury brands. However, what will change is the radical nature of retail alternatives that will be available to customers. Those will disrupt both brick-and-mortar clothes stores and traditional online shopping. Imagine a world where you can go shopping directly in a Virtual Reality (VR) store, in which an AI is your personal shopping advisor. Because your body will already be 3D scanned to the millimeter, everything you’ll see in this virtual store will be in your size and in your favorite colors. To facilitate and accelerate your purchase decision, avatars of you will wear all the outfits and options you want in a snap. The selected outfit will then be produced and manufactured in your exact size, using robotics and 3D printing capabilities in a local factory. Finally, your custom-made piece will be shipped to you within few hours (possibly by drones).

In other words, luxury stores might not change that much in the future. You might just opt in for a retail experience on steroids instead.


Mighty Things is a global strategy and innovation company. We advise leaders and their organizations to adapt faster to the realities of the connected world. Our projects focus on consumer-connected devices, wearable technology, mobility and the Industrial Internet of Things.

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