Luxury's Vital Online Transformation

When Bottega Veneta shut down its social media channels, luxury marketing departments wondered why. During a period when brands have become more reliant than ever on social media, it was hard to imagine why Bottega Veneta would leave 2.5 million followers in the dark.

Let’s look at why this company’s exodus from social media isn’t as crazy as it seems.

Emotions drive lasting customer relationships. Luxury brands have historically poured tremendous resources into creating transcendent physical experiences.

Over the last year, the pandemic has made in-store shopping a fraught experience. Brands have responded with a massive investment in social media to create emotional connections.

But when consumers experience your brand in their Instagram feed, they engage superficially, amid dozens of competing brands, and in the same context as news, social posts, and toxic political content.

When it comes to building emotional connections with customers, luxury retail must instead build websites that are temples to their brands — digital spaces that immerse guests in their craftsmanship, artistry, histories, and mythologies. Experiences must not only tell a story about the brand, but help consumers tell a story about themselves.



In his book “Imagining Religion,” Jonathan Smith describes a temple as a place in which things “become sacred by having our attention directed to it in a special way.”

Likewise, every detail of a luxury website can significantly affect the consumer’s perception, emotion, and experience. Transitions and interactions must match the brand’s heartbeat and sophistication.

 Immersed In Myth

Beyond their physical construction, temples are places where we immerse ourselves in history and myth. Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool for creating emotional connections, and websites are an incredibly powerful tool to tell stories.

Founded in 1837, Hermés is one of the world’s oldest luxury brands. It was also one of the first luxury brands to launch a website, in 2001. Since its relatively early entry into the digital space, Hermés has mastered the art of digital storytelling.

Other heritage luxury brands are following suit. Burberry released late last year a gorgeous campaign espousing the 1856 brand’s commitment to youth, creativity, and the future. Chanel has built a massive digital experience centered around the history of its founder, Coco Chanel, and the stories behind its products.

A Ripe Opportunity

Luxury brands have a tremendous opportunity. If the last decade was dedicated to digitization, the next decade will be about luxury companies infusing that infrastructure with digital craftsmanship.

Imagine removing brand logos from today’s luxury fashion house websites. Would you be able to distinguish between the white grid-based websites?

Luxury retailers must transform their websites by infusing their digital image with the same artistry and craftsmanship as their products. Only then will they be perfectly positioned to build digital temples to their brands that create powerful emotional connections with their customers.

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