Despite the fact a French company owns Gucci, the notorious global brand is still seen as the epitome of “Italian luxury”. Looking past the opulence the brand radiates, Gucci has been able to successfully combine old world tradition with a profound understanding of modern technology and marketing techniques. In relation to the digital capability of companies in the luxury market, Gucci was ranked number one and labelled a “fashion genius”. The development of their online presence through the use of e-commerce, social media, digital marketing and the integration of a smartphone app puts them in an advantageous position.
Lets take a step back and think about why a global company like Gucci, rich in heritage and richer in reputation, feels the need to be skilled at digital marketing and social media.
These days consumers are using the Internet along with other browsing platforms to research the products prior to purchasing their “must have” luxury item. While a marginal 5% of luxury sales take place online, the 'digital browsing' signifies the birthplace over almost 50% of sales. In more recent times, the profit aspect for Gucci has been on a decline as “high-end” customers are switching to brands they perceive as more exclusive. Even with Gucci’s pursuit to find wealthier clients, their sales continue to decline.
Gucci was one of the first luxury brands that saw the significance of having a well-defined and well-branded digital presence. Part of Gucci’s success lends itself to their belief in providing all customers with a “Gucci Experience”, in both the real world and the virtual one. Gucci has achieved this presence by providing a broad selection of products both in its boutiques and its online store. Taking advantage of future growth, Gucci has further felt the need to invest in their e-commerce infrastructure. Even though Gucci’s digital commitment has not yet improved its global revenue, it has definitely enhanced its profile. In addition, the smartphone app has provided users with a customized experience, resulting in a 150% increase in online traffic.
The digital marketing strategy Gucci has implemented involves a
multi-faceted approach using a variety of social media platforms. In the past, Gucci has been known to combine their excessively opulent window displays with beautifully designed online video advertisements. Gucci has cleverly tied promotional campaigns to the anniversaries of some of it's iconic products. A prime example was the 60th anniversary of its legendary “Horsebit” loafers, when famous fashion bloggers were asked to show off the celebrated shoes. A large percentage of the success of these cross-promotions lends itself back to the involvement of consumers on social media, which can be seen in the size of Gucci’s online community.
As consumer trends continually change, even global companies such as Gucci need to start looking into how they can adapt, acquire new customers and potentially enter new markets. Gucci’s partnership with Fiat began with bringing out a limited edition version of the popular ‘Fiat 500’, all ensconced in trademark Gucci leather. However, it should be known that Gucci is extremely discriminating when it comes to working with others. “Partner carefully,” warns Nicole Marra of Gucci, and so they should I say! Gucci’s aim in maintaining constant conversation with its customers, as well as its marketing partners, at the end of the day all relies on their digital strategy. Whilst digital marketing campaigns and projects are important, so are building long-term relationships.
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School