Burberry brand ambassador Chinese singer and actress Zhao Wei is a good choice given her following in their fastest growing market — Asia. Source: Nicolas TUCAT / AFP

Burberry brand ambassador Chinese singer and actress Zhao Wei is a good choice given her following in their fastest growing market — Asia. Source: Nicolas TUCAT / AFP

How Burberry is leveraging technology to lead in the digital age

BURBERRY is an interesting company. It’s a luxury fashion retailer witnessing exponential growth in China and Southeast Asia. Its customers are affluent, digitally savvy, and although they might not be digital-first, they’re quite influenced by social media.

Going by their recent annual report, it seems as though the company understands this and is working on ways to hit the right notes as far as customer engagement on digital platforms goes.

Here are some of the figures that the company highlighted to provide context for the direction it is taking:

  • It is estimated that 70 percent of luxury purchases are influenced by online interactions
  • In Japan and South Korea, more than 50 percent of e-commerce is via smartphone or tablet devices
  • In China, more than 80 percent of online shopping is done on mobile devices

As a result, the company is pursuing more intelligent social media campaigns, working on creating digital-first platform collaborations, and looking at tailoring communications to better engage with customers.

“Our brand energy is built on creative content such as capsules, projects, and collaborations. In the digital age, consumers engage visually and often. They expect, so we deliver, continuous innovative content,” said Burberry CMO Sarah Manley.

Diving deeper into Burberry’s digital strategy

The company’s digital strategy emphasizes on the word “revolutionizing” — and upon gaining a better understanding of it, that term seems justified.

Burberry understands that its customers are visually-driven. Hence, the company is focused on displaying highly curated product assortments, crafting personalized stories, and editorializing their website to enhance consumer engagement.

Overall, the luxury fashion retailer plans on doing more with social media than ever before — to engage with its 51 million social media followers globally, across 13 unique platforms, 24 accounts, and 11 languages.

“We want to ensure that our content is not just relevant for social media, but made specifically for it.”

Recently, in China, for example, the company celebrated Chinese New Year with Chinese actresses and brand ambassadors Zhao Wei and Zhou Dongyu, proving that the company is keen on walking the talk when it comes to taking its digital campaigns up a notch.

The company says that it is also improving its omnichannel experience to allow customers flexibility over payment and delivery options, allowing them to switch seamlessly between physical and digital.

Burberry’s digital strategy falls under four major headings:

# 1 | Content curation and storytelling:

“We will curate our product and merchandising assortment, for example through ‘shop the look’ rather than product category, bringing the digital shopping experience to life through powerful product storytelling.”

Burberry wishes to express its point of view through an editorialized website and product-first social media campaigns.

Although the change in itself is small and only involves enhancing theme pages and introducing shoppable stories and social content onto owned digital platforms, the idea has the potential to revolutionize the luxury fashion industry.

# 2 | Personalized luxury services

“We will offer a personalized digital experience through product recommendations that are tailored to customer preferences. We will ensure dynamic online customer engagement, for example through evolving and personalizing homepages.”

Burberry’s team believes that personalization has become the new norm.

A Linkdex survey, recently pointed out that 70 percent of US customers expect some sort of personalization when shopping online.

For the luxury fashion market, this personalization has taken several forms, including brand storytelling, product recommendations, and bespoke or customized products, and Burberry’s team is working on ensuring they go above and beyond with their digital strategy.


# 3 | Seamless omnichannel experiences

“We will allow customers flexibility in payment and delivery options, enabling them to switch seamlessly between physical and digital distribution channels.”

The company’s annual report says that it is investing in various technologies to create extraordinary experiences for its customers and employees, and to increase its agility as a business.

In retail, for example, this means supporting the customer service elevation objective through an upgraded single global Point of Sale (POS) system and new clienteling solutions.

Across digital, the company is spending on building an omnichannel presence, its Burberry app, and using data and analytics to help the brand thrive in the new digital ecosystem.

# 4 | Accelerate digital partnerships

“Digital partnerships are expected to be a key source of growth for the luxury industry going forward.”

Burberry is a remarkable brand, something that has a lot of clout and influence in the luxury fashion market. Hence, the company work on extending its digital presence through selective, brand-appropriate third-party partnerships, while also ensuring a consistent brand experience and product representation.

“We will also deepen existing relationships, for example through limited edition capsule product collaborations.”

In order to reach younger customers, for example, the company has recently announced a partnership with Farfetch, a intelligent fashion e-commerce platform. “This [partnership] opened up our full inventory to a third-party for the first time and expanded our reach to more than 150 countries around the world.”

In the coming months, Burberry expects to deliver the promises it has made — and with its next annual report not far away, analysts are watching how the luxury retailer pioneers digital in its the niche market it operates in.