“The ultimate luxury is time,” Michael Kors said. The world renowned fashion designer said this a few years ago, and it’s long been a key concept in high end retail. Shoppers in luxury spaces are never rushed or hurried along; a significant amount of time is invested by salespeople in starting and maintaining authentic, genuine relationships. Every aspect of the experience is aesthetically engineered to be pleasing, from the choice of fixtures, floor coverings, and ambient music to the personal invitations to trunk shows and calls to let a customer know when an item they’d especially enjoy becomes available.
How does this translate to digital spaces? Conventional wisdom tells us that customers’ attention spans have shrunk beyond any meaningful measure: in a world inundated by advertising, a message must be immediately impactful if it has any hope to get through at all.
We’re not sure that conventional wisdom is correct in general, and we are absolutely certain that it’s flat out wrong when it comes to luxury retail. Whether you’re talking about a legacy brand like Hermes or Tiffany, or an emerging name like Shinola or Coach, generating a split-second instant attraction has never been the point. A given product or design has never been the point. Luxury sales are rooted in aspiration: shoppers follow and bond with brands that articulate a vision of the life they’d like to have.
Have you ever had a good dream end too soon? We want our pleasurable imaginings to continue for hours. It’s a joy to spend time contemplating the finer things. We know the majority of luxury shoppers are not spending all day, every day, in luxury retail environments. They are, however, spending significant time every day on social media and in other digital spaces.
How do we create an online experience that shoppers want to linger in? Part of the problem may be our devotion to short-form content. Images, unless they are exceptionally arrested, take a few seconds at most to appreciate. Video is a more effective tool, and this is where we need to give that conventional wisdom a serious side eye. While extremely short videos have their place, Ooyala, a marketing research firm that tracks video statistics, has found that people who watch videos on mobile devices – as 80% of Millennials do – will spend up to half an hour with content they find engaging.
Imagine having your customer’s undivided attention for half an hour at a time. Brands that are willing to slow down and spend time crafting content that addresses consumers’ hunger for aspirational, aesthetic experiences are providing the digital equivalent of the luxury retail experience. It takes courage to go against conventional wisdom, but people haven’t changed, even though the technology has. Are you brave enough to slow down and spend time with your customers?