Digitalisation as a solution for a sustainable luxury model - These are the industry's gamechangers
Author: House of Eden
- Young consumers are promoting more sustainability than ever before
- The latest technologies should integrate sustainability
- Digitalisation can positively counteract negative environmental impacts
Almost all of the trends we are currently experiencing in the luxury industry can be traced back to three underlying forces: digitization, young consumer groups (Gen Z and Gen Alpha) and sustainability. These are the game changers in the high-end sector.
More and more experts and studies, for example by McKinsey & Company, suggest Gen Z is emerging as the most influential consumer group for luxury brands. In order to meet their demand and needs, a revolution in existing business models is required.
In one sentence: inclusive and relevant brand messages combined with digital storytelling that are part of a holistic sustainability agenda. The challenge of established brands is thus twofold: they need to develop attractive strategies in the context of sustainable solutions. In doing so, digitalisation does not necessarily act alone, but in many cases as a booster for sustainability. Here are some examples.
Digitalisation to increase efficiency
Digitisation not only helps to increase the efficiency of internal processes, but also to redesign customer experiences. Examples of this are gamification and AR shopping,, which take digital shopping to the next level. Virtual reality shops make shopping a unique experience and avatar-based try-ons increase the accuracy of fit and reduce shopping mistakes. A visit to an offline shop is thus obsolete and the disadvantages of online shopping are partially eliminated. Gamification can also promote sustainable behaviour in a playful way and reward it with rewards.
Source & Copyright Burberry - Virtual Reality Store Ginza
However, it is important to reconcile digital practices with sustainability without compromise. After all, digitisation is closely related to high energy use, as the debate around the environmental impact of the NFT art booms illustrates. Likewise, the example of Tesla proves that platforms like Bitcoin must always promote more transparency as well as innovation. Elon Musk quickly dismissed the cryptocurrency, despite initial euphoria, due to the high energy expenditure of blockchain technology.
The more our world is digitized, the more energy efficiency will be of importance. Here, too, it is to be expected that younger generations in particular will demand more transparency and, when it comes to technology, rely on tools and gadgets that meet this need. The consequence: intangible, digital products and services must be (further) developed with high sustainability standards and presented transparently.
Digitisation promotes circularity
In contrast to the software component, the hardware stands as an influencing factor of digitalisation on sustainability. Ongoing technological progress has increased the pace of change more than ever. Practically all product categories have been changed by the digital revolution in recent years, with more and more product models appearing every year in ever shorter cycles. As a result, waste production is increasing massively.
Here, too, digitisation can help. For example, through digital couture, fashion can be lived out purely digitally. This would be an interesting option, for example, for the numerous looks that influencers present on social media every day. In addition, new models can first receive a digital assessment from the audience or stakeholders before going into production. Digitisation could also be a booster for the mega-trend made-to-order, which in turn reduces consumption and waste.
Apple recycling robot | © Apple DE
Not only fashion houses, but also tech powerhouse Apple is increasingly focusing on circularity and responsible handling of its hardware waste; the company offers buy-back and recycling solutions for Apple devices. This gives products a new life cycle, extended through repair or recycling. The interactive nature of a circular product purchase or buyback offers breakthrough business opportunities as new luxury customers demand emotionalised, individualised experiences with luxury brands across all industries.
Digitalisation creates innovative customer relationships
Digital tools allow brands to be in permanent contact with the customer and to build a continuous customer relationship on an emotional level. This means moving away from social media to new formats such as digital shows and events, magazines and apps. An example of this is Guccifest, a fashion film festival with stars like Billie Eilish and Harry Styles. Bottega Veneta's Issue magazine completes the design of a Brand Universe with XNUMX% self-controlled media storytelling.
Thus, the brands also assume more responsibility with regard to data protection and data security. A booster for this may be Edge AI, which better controls the exchange of data between brands and customers by bypassing a cloud-based exchange and thus allowing for more personalisation.
Sustainable technology: Booster for success and growth
Overall, digitisation affects every segment of the luxury industry. Young customer bases, Gen Z and soon also the next generation Gen Alpha, are tech-savvy and demand the implementation of exclusive experiences within the framework of uncompromising sustainability. And thus generates extraordinary potential for brands to promote innovation and generate growth from digital sustainability. Those who develop and use sustainable technologies can achieve future success and growth.