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Luxury Champagne brands need to rethink online marketing

Published:  01 February, 2012

Luxury Champagne brands will have to rethink how they interact with customers online as "clunky brand websites will become archaic".

That's according to Peter Cross, Mary Portas's business partner at Yellowdoor, said luxury brands perform very strongly in the online arena, but needed to become even more sophisticated as consumers change how they shop.

Cross, speaking at last week's Champagne Assembly hosted by Pernod Ricard, said: "Luxury brands initially poo-pooed digital marketing - it scared the pants off them." Although luxury firms had upped the ante to better engage with consumers online, now is the time to do more, he said.

Cross predicted even greater change in how consumers do their shopping, with mobile commerce growing by 500% in the next five years. Alongside the advent of social media, engaging with consumers is "more sophisticated", and interacting with brands has become "integrated into our lives".

He said firms must now navigate through three different types of shoppers - "empowered" - those constantly online; "universal" - those who "spend the evening trying to shave £10 off their car insurance but think nothing of spending £4,000 on a watch" and "value hunters".

He said the luxury industry had for too long been "bending over backwards to whatever customers wanted", and that now was the time to say 'no'.

Pernod Ricard's Pierre-Aymeric du Cray, global sales director for Champagne, said the "bling bling" era pre-2008 where people wanted to get "recognition" and "show off" with their brand choices was over. "People want to return to genuine values," of timelessness, authenticity and personalisation, he said.

James Amos, managing director of Boodles, agreed - he said in the luxury jewellery market consumers were looking for pieces "anchored in history". There is a "conscious movement away from big showy" looks to more design-led pieces which "show off the craftsmanship", he added.