Luxury Institute News

August 13, 2014

Luxury Retail Summit 2014 New York Sept. 9: St. Regis, MissoniHome, Christie’s Watch Shop, Leading Hotels of the World, Breeders’ Cup, WSJ., Eleven James, Crest and Co.

Luxury Daily
August 13, 2014

Registration is open for the second annual Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2014 conference Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 in New York featuring speakers from St. Regis, MissoniHome, Christie’s Watch Shop, The Leading Hotels of the World, The Breeders’ Cup, Crest and Co., Eleven James, WSJ. magazine, ForbesLife, Bloomberg Pursuits, Style Coalition and leading luxury-focused agencies and market researchers.

This daylong New York event is a must-attend for luxury retailers, luxury brands, publishers, ad agencies and market researchers looking for strategic and tactical advice, tips, case studies and research on luxury retailing, especially in the run-up to the holidays. At this exclusive summit organized by this publication at the National Museum of the American Indian across from Manhattan’s Battery Park downtown, attendees will get to listen and meet with key executives moving the needle for the luxury business including retail, marketing and media. The conference, whose agenda is below, will be limited to only 150 delegates.

“The key point for luxury brands and retailers heading into the holiday season is an eternal truth with a slight qualification: Know your customer – very well,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Luxury Daily, New York.

“Today’s luxury shopper is as sharp as a tack, sniffing out quality and value, looking for the unique experience that makes the best memory for self and loved ones,” he said. “With all the noise that the holidays bring, being heard, seen and bought with brand values and integrity intact will be the challenge in the months ahead.”

Retail detail
Attendees to the Luxury Retail Summit will hear how MissoniHome and Christie’s Watch Shop approach luxury retailing, especially as the holidays near.

Also ready to share experiences are senior executives from Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ St. Regis and The Luxury Collection, The Leading Hotels of the World, The Breeders’ Cup, Crest and Co., Eleven James, WSJ. magazine, ForbesLife, Bloomberg Pursuits and Style Coalition.

In addition, market researchers from Wealth-X, Wealth Engine, Shullman Research Center, Unity Marketing, Ipsos MediaCT, YouGov and The Luxury Institute will reveal valuable data, insights and analysis on luxury shoppers and shopping.

Finally, top executives from agencies, marketing service providers and retail consultancies such as RO-NY, STC Associates, Boston Retail Partners, iProspect and McCann Truth Central will debate whether marketing is keeping up with evolving consumer attitudes as online and mobile gain more mindshare.

Attendees will have access to all presentations made at the event.

The event is priced at $695 for the day, which includes breakfast, lunch and cocktails. Refunds will not be given 72 hours before the event or for no-shows on the day of the conference.

For sponsorship, please contact ads@napean.com for prompt attention.

The Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2014 is part of this publication’s exclusive summit series including Luxury FirstLook and Luxury Roundtable. The events’ core point of difference is their strong editorial spine with a deep-dive into topics under discussion.

The summit agenda can also be accessed via http://www.luxuryretailsummit.com.

For the entire article click the link:http://www.luxurydaily.com/luxury-retail-summit-2014-new-york-sept-9-st-regis-missonihome-christies-watch-shop-leading-hotels-of-the-world-breeders-cup-wsj-eleven-james-crest-and-co-3/

May 4, 2014

Derek Lam Believes in Fashion for the Masses He’s part of a breed of hot designers making luxury more accessible

By: Emma Bazilian
ADWEEK
May 4, 2014

Derek Lam remembers a time when it would take years before an apparel brand was established enough to spin off a secondary line aimed at catering to the masses.
But Lam, one of the hottest designers around, is not a man who likes to wait.
He is one of a breed of contemporary fashion stars—including Alexander Wang, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung—for whom accessible luxury is not just an afterthought but part of their DNA.

“Traditionally, the plan would have been to just stick to high-end,” Lam explains one April afternoon at his company headquarters and studio near New York’s Madison Square Park. “But I went into it saying, ‘I want to do as many different levels as possible because I want to reach a wider audience.’ It used to be that designers could sit and wait for the audience to come to them—now, they have to go to the audience.”

Lam’s lower-priced 10 Crosby line bowed in 2011, eight years after his runway debut. Lam made sure to adhere to one of the crucial tenets of a successful diffusion line: maintaining a brand identity. “I think that before, designers would do secondary lines that were maybe more derivative of their main collections,” he says. “I recognized that 10 Crosby couldn’t be just a knockoff of what I was doing [at Derek Lam]. So when we started marketing the line, we built an ideal of this 10 Crosby woman, and that was really key.”

With dresses in the $400 to $700 range, 10 Crosby is not cheap. But compared to the $3,000 to $4,000 dresses in the core Derek Lam line, it’s practically a steal. As a result, 10 Crosby is growing considerably faster than its pricier parent, says Derek Lam International CEO Jan-Hendrik Schlottmann. The number of stores carrying 10 Crosby has increased 150 percent in the last year, and the brand recently expanded into footwear. “I think the overall potential is much larger because you can sell in places where you can’t really sell [the main] collection,” Schlottmann says. As sales of luxury goods have slowed for companies like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, business has been booming further down the price ladder.

Michael Kors, which launched in 1981 and has steadily grown its lower-priced offshoot Michael Michael Kors over the last decade, enjoyed a wildly popular IPO in 2011 and last year racked up $2.2 billion in sales. Kate Spade, which lost some of its luster following a sale to Liz Claiborne in 2006, underwent a major revamp as an aspirational lifestyle brand and is now looking at a near 70 percent year-over-year bump in its stock price, on top of $1.3 billion in sales for 2013. (Incidentally, Liz Claiborne sold its namesake brand and renamed itself Kate Spade & Co.) Meantime, Tory Burch, the decade-old brand rumored to be heading toward its own IPO, is valued at some $3.3 billion.

“A smart designer understands the importance of developing a business that’s profitable but without losing that creative spirit and losing that dream of what the runway is really about,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a research and consulting firm. “They know that they need to often embrace the idea of the secondary lines to help fuel the financing of their main collection.” Consider Victoria Beckham. In 2011, the entertainer-turned-designer added a diffusion line, Victoria Victoria Beckham, to her then two-year-old main collection. Within a year, the success of the secondary label helped put her company in the black for the first time.

Of course, accessible luxury also continues to be an important enterprise for more established brands. Helmut Lang, Catherine Malandrino and Balmain have all launched diffusion lines in recent years, while Valentino has pushed its previously under-the-radar Red Valentino line. Another diffusion makeover is under way at Marc Jacobs. Last year, the designer left his post as creative director at Louis Vuitton to concentrate on both his high-end line and the more youthful Marc by Marc Jacobs, whose sales account for the majority of company revenue.

Another key factor in the growth of this space is the influence of millennials. “Young consumers are looking for quality and design, but they’re also looking for ‘new,’” says Pedraza. “They’re much more open to new and affordable brands than baby boomers.”

Considering their proximity to fashion, consumers are under more pressure to compete in the fashion space. “Even though we say we’re not a class-conscious society, this is a very status-conscious society, and these brands help elevate people who may not have a lot of money but want to show off these accessible luxury brands,” explains Pedraza. “They want that stature that comes with these products as well.”

There can be a downside to becoming too accessible, however. Flooding the market takes away from the feeling of exclusivity that makes luxury brands seem special in the first place. “Ubiquity does breed some backlash,” says Pedraza. “The problem with luxury retail is that you often don’t know where the line is until you’ve crossed it.”

See full article with quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/derek-lam-believes-fashion-masses-157455

 

March 6, 2014

Would You Pay 70 Per Cent More For Chanel?

By: Lauren Milligan
Vogue.com
March 5, 2014

IT’S not just the recession and higher property and living costs that’s making you think it, the price of luxury goods is actually rising. The Wall Street Journal reports that the price of a quilted Chanel bag has on average risen by 70 per cent in the past five years, while Louis Vuitton’s classic Speedy bag is 32 per cent more expensive in America than it was in 2009.

There are several theories behind the increases – which represent a general trend across the luxury goods industry, including watches and jewellery. Some say the prices are intended to help customers differentiate between the high-end brands and their increasingly popular mid-market competitors.

“The more Tory Burches and Michael Kors there are, the more the Chanels and Louis Vuittons will try to price up,” said Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, told the WSJ. Others explained that the price increases, although far outpacing inflation, were unavoidable in order to maintain quality – thanks to rising production costs.

Click the link to read the entire article: http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2014/03/05/price-increases-for-luxury-items—chanel-louis-vuitton-bags

January 23, 2014

Three Luxury Myths Killing Your Brand Equity

(NEW YORK) January 23, 2014 –As one the world’s foremost research and consulting companies for top tier luxury brands, Luxury Institute has been privileged to work with the most dynamic brands in the U.S., Europe and Asia.  We often find ourselves engaged in rich dialogue, and healthy debate, with senior executives and top leadership at the world’s greatest luxury firms.

We help iconic brands adapt themselves to compete in the new world where technology, people and product superiority combine to drive success.  Below are three of the biggest myths that we often encounter and our recommendations for how brands can overcome the tendency of destroying their own equity, despite the best of intentions.

Myth #1: You Must Choose One Area of Focus Among Product Leadership, Operational Excellence and Customer Intimacy

Back in 1995, Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema published “The Discipline of Market Leaders” in which the authors addressed the idea of strategic focus, and discouraged attempts to excel on multiple fronts.  The concepts and principles were adapted by top-tier consultants and spread throughout the management ranks of corporations that engaged them, propagating the myth that you have to choose only one area of differentiation.

Today, superior products, efficient operations and brand intimacy are an inseparable trio for building and maintaining a luxury brand. The reality now is that you have to be great at all three, or you are highly disadvantaged.

A clear example of achieving excellence on all three fronts is Bottega Veneta.  The iconic luxury fashion brand has seen a phenomenal sales growth trajectory over the past ten years. It was on the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, and in 2001 was acquired by the company that is now Kering.  Back then, annual sales were around $50 million and the income statement was mired in losses. Today Bottega Veneta’s sales are topping $1 billion.

Bottega Veneta’s management team is best-in-class. They are blessed with a brilliant, authentic designer matched by a management team that is beyond superb. The brand delivers on all three disciplines seamlessly. At Bottega Veneta, brilliant execution delivers a reported profit margin of 32%. Phenomenal sales and profit growth flows from product leadership, operational excellence and customer intimacy that is the envy of any brand. A profoundly personal, humanistic culture translates into the Bottega Veneta brand running on all three disciplines, instead of getting a lift from only one.

Myth #2: A Luxury Brand Must Be Organized As a Hierarchy In Order to Be Effective

At the center of a luxury brand is usually a brilliant innovator and founder whose creative genius is unquestionable. There is also typically a business partner who makes all of the decisions jointly with the founder.

The origin of luxury in Europe has created an industry organizational model that has some of the strictest hierarchies known in the business world. When we visit with senior management teams in Europe, and even at many U.S. firms, the organization is defined as a military style, top-down hierarchy.

Proponents of this model say that luxury brands, unlike brands in any other industry, have lasted hundreds of years–or at least for several decades–so why fix what is not broken?

There are two major reasons why the myth of the luxury brand as a strictly regimented organization must be shattered. The first is demographic in nature. As millennials in the 21-34 age group enter the work force, our research shows that that these younger people are far more idealistic about having meaningful purpose in their work.  They tend to change jobs more frequently and often leave if they are in a structured environment where opportunities to develop and contribute are limited. Author and researcher Daniel Pink says that three things are required in an organization today to retain employees: a meaningful purpose; some degree of autonomy over how they perform their function, and continuous skills growth.

The second reason why rigid hierarchies are ineffective is the new meaning of strategy. The metaphor for a successful brand is not the machine model, but the organic model. There must be a balance of adapting processes to achieve healthy, sustainable growth while adhering to corporate DNA.

Myth #3: Sales Professionals are Anonymous and Robotic Transactors

Luxury sales teams at most brands already have enormous turnover and this is not likely to decrease in organizations that fail to empower associates. Brands must embrace the ‘freedom with boundaries’ approach or watch their associates walk out the door.

While luxury executives say they are sold on the ideas of customer experience and engagement, they are far less enthusiastic about employee experience and engagement.  Most brands will tout the new principles but will resort to giving orders instead of trusting front-line professionals, especially in tough times.

The paradox is that in order to unleash the power of customer relationship building, driven by a customer culture, brands cannot simply task front-line employees with delivering results, excluding them from the “customer” definition. Employees are really internal customers and they should be measured just as carefully. In addition to empowering employees, brands must use innovative education and daily customer and sales associate metrics to improve skills and reinforce the culture daily.

Luxury sales professionals in the future will be treated as artisanal entrepreneurs who are given their own email addresses and digital devices for professional use. They will be given the freedom to innovate in small and large ways daily in order to personalize and customize for the customer

It may be true that many sales associates in a variety of industries will be replaced by technology solutions. However, in luxury, these jobs will be upgraded to deliver the extraordinary customer experiences and build the long-term relationships that brands once took for granted when they first opened their doors.  Innovation will flow from the bottom-up as much as from the top-down.

Conclusion:

Luxury Institute has worked with more than a dozen luxury brands or conglomerates on Customer Culture projects in the past few years.  The improvements are real and deliver powerful results in customer data collection, conversion and retention. Brands have seen retention of employees increase too. Bridging the gap between management, the front line, and the customer may be hard for some executives to swallow or imagine, but that is the future of luxury.

The luxury industry is very much a darling of Wall Street today, and with good reason. As the global population of affluent consumers grows, luxury is in for a good ride indeed. Yet, these myths are preventing many luxury brands from achieving significantly better sales and profit growth and could potentially drive many established companies out of business.

About the Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers globally about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Customer Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

 

January 6, 2014

But It Doesn’t Look Like a Marriott: Marriott International Aims to Draw a Younger Crowd

By Brooks Barnes
New York Times
January 4, 2014

J.W. Marriott Jr., the 81-year-old chairman of Marriott International, flew to London in September to inspect his company’s new jewel: Edition, a sumptuous boutique hotel intended to anchor a new 100-city chain — the next W, if Marriott has its way. But Mr. Marriott did not stay overnight at the London Edition, as the new property is known, with its laser-lighted nightclub and guest-room paintings of women wearing toilet-paper turbans. He bedded down at Grosvenor House, one of the company’s more traditional luxury hotels.

“This is what I know, but I’m the past,” he said, sitting in the old-fashioned floral splendor of a Grosvenor corner suite. Edition, conceived in partnership with the boutique hotelier Ian Schrager, is about the Marriott company’s future. “We’re trying to get some flash,” Mr. Marriott said. He rose wearily from his chair. “I’m off to see the flash.”

Marriott is big. The company, based in Bethesda, Md., operates 660,000 rooms under 16 brands, including Courtyard, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton; more than 800 new Marriott-operated properties are in the works worldwide.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/business/marriott-international-aims-to-draw-a-younger-crowd.html?pagewanted=print

 

November 28, 2013

Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014

By Staff Reports
Luxury Daily
November 27, 2013

Tip a hat or nod respectfully to the 25 women on Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014 list, a roll call of the some of the smartest women set to make a difference in luxury marketing and retail in 2014.

These executives share traits in common: dedication to craft, consumer focus, leadership potential, ambition, educator and exemplar. And yet, for all the plaudits, these women know that the journey is won step by step, with many miles to go before true gender parity is a reality in the luxury business.

“Women are extremely underrepresented at the highest ranks of luxury companies but fill the majority of positions at every other level,” said Meera Raja, analyst at The Luxury Institute, New York.

This honor list, the second since its debut last year, is geared to spotting future occupants of the C-suite.

Honor list
Executives on the list represent brands and retailers such as Rosewood Hotels, David Yurman, Bang & Olufsen, Lexus, FHRI Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton Co., Savelli, Pratesi Linens, H. Stern, La Prairie, Estee Lauder Cos., Moët Hennessy USA and Michael Kors.

Also on the list are executives from agencies, publishers, researchers, consultancies and service providers such as Art Luxe Style, Avista Partners, Brenes Co., ePrize, ShopIgniter, Gallant Media Group, Bluemoon Works, Luxury Institute, Interbrand, Carrot Creative, Hearst Design Group and Style Coalition.

It is a field of strong women with stronger convictions.

“So much of the luxury business is creating personalized experiences and I think women can think creatively to develop them,” said Nancy Hubbell, prestige communications manager at Lexus, Torrence, CA.

Judging process
Picking the honorees was not simple, given the sheer number of submissions. Luxury Daily invited readers to send in their nominations. The Luxury Daily team also had its own slate of candi¬dates based on regular interactions with luxury marketers.

Once the deadline expired, the Luxury Daily team judged the nominees on their merits and narrowed the list to 25 women who showed the most promise to push the envelope in 2014. All judging was based purely on merit and the potential to make a difference.

The list’s responses reflected the pragmatic approach to luxury marketing and retail, balancing both art and science across all channels including online, mobile and especially the mainstay, retail stores.

“Luxury retail settings are modern art galleries,” said Rebecca Miller, New York-based executive vice president of Pratesi Linens.

MANY THANKS to Michelle Nance for putting together this Clas¬sic Guide. Also, thank you to Jen King, Joe McCarthy and Sarah Jones for their nominations and judging as well as the reporting on Luxury Daily.

Please read this guide and reach out to the women honored. As role models, they pave the way for more women aspiring to not only enter luxury marketing and retail, but also aiming for the top.

London-based Rebecca Robins, Interbrand director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, said it best when she quoted the last words of the late British poet Seamus Heaney: “Noli timere.” Translated from the Latin: “Don’t be afraid.”

Please click here to download Luxury Daily’s Luxury Women to Watch 2014

http://www.luxurydaily.com/luxury-daily%E2%80%99s-luxury-women-to-watch-2014-2/print/

November 20, 2013

Treasure, What’s Your Pleasure?

There’s never been a better time to make a mint in fashion.

By Naomi Barr
Slate Magazine
November 19, 2013

The new titans of business are now also the best dressed. Take a glance at the Bloomberg Billionaires list: As of this writing, the third wealthiest person in the world is Amancio Ortega (net worth $64.2 billion), the founder of Spanish clothing chain Zara. No. 15 is luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault ($33 billion), chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA; just a few places behind is Stefan Persson ($29.3 billion), chairman of Swedish retail giant H&M. In the past year, a noteworthy crop of high-end designers made their first appearances on Forbes richest-billionaires list, including Tory Burch, Dolce & Gabbana’s Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, and Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. Brunello Cucinelli, with his eponymous label of suits and $2,000 cashmere sweaters, has reportedly sailed past the 10-figure mark while the ubiquitous Michael Kors is on the brink, if he hasn’t crossed it already.

High-end (or highish-end) fashion is the provenance of a new class of billionaire. “It’s the bifurcation of the world,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a research and consulting firm. “People talk about the 99 percent and the 1, but it’s really more like the 80 percent and the 20. That top number of consumers is growing exponentially, and as a result, premium and luxury brands are surging.” With an expanded consumer base in China and other Asian markets as well as in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and the Americas, the luxury market has boomed; according to the consulting firm Bain & Co., these consumers worldwide have spent roughly $292 billion in 2013 alone.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/billion_to_one/2013/11/the_next_fashion_billionaire_michael_kors_marc_jacobs_and_others_on_the.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

 

 

November 19, 2013

T-shirt for $7 or $70? How the wealth gap is altering retail

By Allison Linn
CNBC
November 19, 2013

The growing wealth gap between the richest and poorest Americans is creating a shopping chasm between those who are trading up and those trading down, experts say. What’s missing is the middle.

“There is a two Americas kind of thing going on,” said Chris Christopher, director of U.S. and global consumer markets for IHS Global Insight.

The result is a retail marketplace in which even basic goods like socks and razors are becoming either incredibly cheap or extremely expensive, experts say.

Say you’re a guy who needs a new T-shirt. A shopper who feels like he has fallen down the economic ladder might opt for the $6.98 Kmart item. But a tech industry hotshot for whom things are looking up might be tempted by the $70 version available at Barneys.

Is there a new baby in the family? Cash-strapped shoppers might head to Wal-Mart for a $6.96 hoodie to bundle up that bundle of joy. The high-end shopper, on the other hand, could be eyeing the $135 cashmere number offered at J. Crew.

Robert Barakett $59.50 men’s white T-shirt versus Kmart’s Basic Edition $6.98 white T-shirt.

Looking to get back to the gym before the holidays? The 1 percent may go for Lululemon’s $98 yoga pants (despite the recent troubles) but the 99 percent probably is more prone to scoop up the $14.99 product at Target.

On the high-end side, experts say retailers are seeing an opportunity to snag consumers who have fared well in the weak economic recovery and now want the best—even in a toothbrush, hair dryer or coffeemaker.

“A lot of even basic items have gone premium,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a consulting firm focused on affluent consumers. He said one company even contacted him recently about the possibility of developing a luxury detergent.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101207907

November 15, 2013

Luxury Outlook 2014: Up, Down or Flat?

By Staff Reports
November 14, 2013

Luxury marketers and retailers have held their ground in a global economy still on the mend from the recent slowdown, high unemployment and growing consumer and public debt. Given this environment, what is the outlook for luxury brands in 2014?

In this free hour-long webinar on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. ET, senior executives from the Luxury Institute, Select NY and Bloomberg Pursuits will discuss what luxury marketers can expect in the year ahead, how to craft their marketing plans accordingly and what left-field surprises to expect, if any.

“Luxury marketers know that the key to sustained growth is nurturing both brand and customer,” said Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Luxury Daily, New York. “The coming year will bring its own opportunities and challenges as global events dictate the rise and fall of consumer confidence. Luxury brands must continue their focus on quality and exclusivity even as the siren call of market share beckons.”

This webinar is one in a series produced by Luxury Daily to inform and educate luxury marketers on the ins and outs of luxury marketing and retail.

Themes discussed in the webinar
• What luxury-focused brands, retailers, agencies and publishers can expect in the year ahead
• Which marketing or retail channel, if any, will be the breakout star in 2014
• Surprises ahead and how to act or react
• Lessons learned from 2013
• Crafting strategy for next year to truly embrace multichannel marketing, including social and mobile
• Three best-practice tips for luxury marketing and retailing in 2014

Panelists
Milton Pedraza, CEO, The Luxury Institute
Mike Dukmejian, publisher, Bloomberg Pursuits
Wolfgang Schaefer, global creative strategy officer, Select NY

Moderator
Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief, Luxury Daily

Attendees to the webinar can request a copy of the deck

http://www.luxurydaily.com/luxury-outlook-2014-up-down-or-flat-2/

October 23, 2013

Neiman Marcus Outshines the Competition For Online And In-Store Experiences Among the Wealthy

(NEW YORK) October 23, 2013 – As part of its first installment of the Luxury Multichannel Engagement Index (LMEI) survey, the New York-based Luxury Institute asked consumers from households with minimum annual income of $150,000 to share opinions and rankings of online and in-store experiences at leading luxury retailers. Neiman Marcus earns the highest overall score and stands out for garnering top honors in nine out of ten customer criteria used to evaluate both the Web and brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

Wealthy shoppers say that Neiman Marcus stores rank first for attractive displays of exclusive products, easy navigation, accessibility of customer service, personalized shopping experiences, fair prices, and for carrying ample stock and styles. Customers also laud Neiman’s salespersons for making them feel special while serving as trusted fashion advisors.

The Neiman Marcus online experience draws equally extensive praise with the top overall ranking and the highest scores on the same measures of satisfaction.

“Smart retailers realize the value of leveraging data to deliver superior experiences that build lasting customer relationships, regardless of the channel,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.

Neiman plans to invest $100 million over the next three to five years on technology that will closely align inventory management, logistics and human resources across multiple retail channels.

“Every aspect of our business is being transformed by technological advancements,” said Jim Gold, president of Neiman Marcus Group, at a retailing summit in Dallas. “The lines have completely blurred between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. The great challenge is to make the experience seamless.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers globally about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Customer Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

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