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Press release

Bain & Company and the Comité Colbert find accelerated adoption of sophisticated technologies in the luxury sector

Bain & Company and the Comité Colbert find accelerated adoption of sophisticated technologies in the luxury sector

  • outubro 02, 2023
  • min read

Press release

Bain & Company and the Comité Colbert find accelerated adoption of sophisticated technologies in the luxury sector

NEW YORK October 2, 2023 – Luxury goods houses are exploring new ways of using the latest technology in their boutiques, integrating it into the high-end human interaction and expertise that is at the heart of their brands, according to a new report by Bain & Company for the Comité Colbert, the trade association for the French luxury industry. Scaling up this deployment will require a deep cultural transformation of these maisons.

Post-Covid, the boutique has reclaimed its status as the cornerstone of a luxury goods maker’s identity. However, its role has evolved beyond merely hosting the purchase to providing a human and emotional experience, and an immersion in the brand’s universe. Bain and the Comité Colbert’s new research shows that 43% of luxury customers primarily visit a boutique to discover a brand and product, while 34% are primarily seeking the feeling of VIP treatment. In response, boutiques must be fully integrated in an omnichannel customer journey. The study also found that 66% of customers, across all generations and geographies, visit a maison’s e-commerce site before shopping in its physical space.

"Lockdowns and Covid-related restrictions temporarily kept customers away from boutiques. The return to physical retail points is accompanied by an increased need for interaction and contact. More than ever before, the boutique has become a place of pleasure, discovery, and enchantment," said Mathilde Haemmerlé, partner and head of Luxury at Bain & Company France.

"Customer expectations regarding the alignment of brand values and concrete actions have become a crucial imperative in the relationship between the customer and maisons," said Bénédicte Épinay, President & CEO of the Comité Colbert.

While significant progress has been made post-Covid, new technologies in the luxury space still have room to grow. The sector is accelerating its adoption of new technologies, presenting increasingly sophisticated use cases. Use cases to watch include radio frequency identification, artificial intelligence, and tech to serve to enhance customer engagement, such as augmented or virtual reality and NFTs.

The study finds technology to be ubiquitous in boutiques, driving three distinct objectives: magnifying the relationship between customers and sales associates; enriching the discovery of collections and the immersion in a brand’s universe; and, ultimately, streamlining the customer journey and operations.

Importance of the relationship between customers and sales associates. For 61% of luxury shoppers, the relationship with the sales associate influences their willingness to promote the brand. All surveyed maisons said their main priority was to deepen this bond. Clienteling tools foster intimacy between the customer and the sales associate, enabling more accurate and personalized recommendations based on customer, product, and logistics data.

Enriching the discovery of collections and the immersion in the brand’s universe. Maisons are testing use cases aimed at enriching their storytelling—through augmented reality, virtual reality, and connected mirrors—to breathe extra life into collections and immerse customers in the brand’s universe and heritage. The research shows that new technologies can surprise customers and strengthen emotional connections to a brand—26% of luxury customers cited discovering a brand’s heritage to be a remarkable moment while shopping. Technology provides a platform and opportunity for maisons to showcase their heritage and craftsmanship as well as to create a unique and cohesive environment in the boutique.

Streamlining the customer journey and operations. For 58% of customers, wait times are a source of frustration. Leading maisons are looking to enhance the payment stage, rapidly track products in the boutique, minimize wait times, and optimize inventory management.

Media contacts:

For any questions or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Gary Duncan (London) — Email: gary.duncan@bain.com

Katie Ware (New York) — Email: katie.ware@bain.com

Orsola Randi (Milan) — Email: orsola.randi@bain.com

About Bain & Company  

Bain & Company is a global consultancy that helps the world’s most ambitious change makers define the future.  

Across 65 cities in 40 countries, we work alongside our clients as one team with a shared ambition to achieve extraordinary results, outperform the competition, and redefine industries. We complement our tailored, integrated expertise with a vibrant ecosystem of digital innovators to deliver better, faster, and more enduring outcomes. Our 10-year commitment to invest more than $1 billion in pro bono services brings our talent, expertise, and insight to organizations tackling today’s urgent challenges in education, racial equity, social justice, economic development, and the environment. We earned a platinum rating from EcoVadis, the leading platform for environmental, social, and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains, putting us in the top 1% of all companies. Since our founding in 1973, we have measured our success by the success of our clients, and we proudly maintain the highest level of client advocacy in the industry.  

About the Comité Colbert

Created in 1954 at the initiative of Jean-Jacques Guerlain, the Colbert Committee is a unique collective. It brings together 93 French luxury Maisons, 17 cultural institutions, and 6 European luxury Maisons, representing 14 trades: from perfumery to jewelry, fashion to goldsmithing, gastronomy to wines and spirits, design and decoration. Passionately promoting, sustainably developing, patiently transmitting French know-how and creativity to inspire dreams: this is the raison d'être of the Colbert Committee that guides each of its actions. These actions are intended to contribute to the international influence of the French art of living, the preservation of know-how and creation, and their transmission to new generations."