More recently, luxury fashion labels are now developing mobile applications in order to satisfy their customers’ passion for digital – and increase brand loyalty at the same time. In general, such apps fall into two broad categories:
- Apps for Customers: showcasing product information, videos, images, and more; downloaded directly from a company’s website and/or available on iTunes / Google Play
- Apps for Fashion Industry Workers: helping team members present fashion products; designed specifically to inspire the daily work of the sales team
Companies nowadays are not so much dedicated to the goal of creating an application for mass-market appeal, but instead prefer to take as special of an approach to marketing their brand as they do to creating their collections. Through the purchase of a $15,000 handbag, for example, a customer is communicating that they are special, unique, worthy of the best, etc; luxury-brand customers often buy luxury goods to emphasize their individuality or to align with a perception of superiority. Therefore, one of the main challenges for top fashion brands is how to strengthen brand identity through the app.
For over the years, Azoft has partnered with fashion brands on various occasions – such as when launching new lines of clothing or during major industry events – and we have designed numerous fashion-related apps. We believe that seamless quality, an aesthetically clean interface, targeted content, and refined functionality are the key ingredients that make an app successful at promoting a fashion brand's image or “lifestyle” – and increasing brand awareness.
Let's take a closer look:
1. Product quality
Major fashion brands tend to strive for perfection in even the most minute details. When a customer arrives to shop, a beautiful interior with items neatly and perfectly arranged sit ready and waiting on the shelves. When this customer launches the brand’s mobile app, the same level of perfection and order will not only be expected but demanded, and therein lies the significance of quality in every version of a mobile app that a luxury brand releases. Any bugs, lags, instability – or inelegant usability – will erase a premium brand’s reputation for excellence from the user’s mind faster than a cached page load.
From exclusive previews and interviews to backstage videos, the DiorMag application opens the door to the World of Dior. Turn the pages of history and experience life inside the House of Dior.
2. Design & interactivity
In order to support brand identity, luxury fashion brands aim to bring outstanding design to their mobile applications. In the real world, brand identity is delivered to users through shop decor, luxury atmosphere & presentation, music, etc. with the main goal here to make the design not just beautiful but also tightly corresponding with brand identity to the fullest degree.
The Le Monde d’Hermès app offers a viewing of the Hermès spring/summer magazine from a surprising new angle: the images in the magazine are transformed under your touch into charming origami figures to be shared as you wish.
One Azoft client who asked us to develop an application for their top luxury brand’s latest fashion collection decided to use the same design idea that was behind the creation of the collection: exciting visual and audio elements in the app interact with the user on an emotional level and create an immersive atmosphere of luxury.
As well as design, a high level of interactivity draws users to the luxury brand experience. Playful, interactive virtual components foster customer aspiration and thus the user connects with the "wow" factor of the app, creating a stronger link with the brand.
Content plays a significant role in a mobile app as it carries the message that a brand wants to convey to its users.
GUCCI STYLE, a shoppable magazine, gives an exclusive look at the fashion, stories and people behind one of the world’s leading luxury brands. Updated weekly.
Through content, luxury fashion brands deliver exclusive information on new and existing products, brand culture and company happenings. They can present behind-the-scene videos, live streaming fashion shows, special insider photo shoots, etc. – and visual content that receives top-notch production can practically "orchestrate" a brand into the mind of the consumer. Providing rich, relevant and engaging content leads to positive user emotions/experiences and helps to enhance brand awareness and identity.
With the Hermès Silk Knots app, you will not just browse a selection of scarves from the Spring/Summer collection but also learn how to tie 12 different knots using step by step videos and discover the 20 knotting cards.
4. Something personal
Even if releasing an app available for all users, brands can limit access to functionality and include options only for select customers who were given PIN codes or passwords, thus enabling loyal customers to enjoy a sense of exclusivity.
Another approach is to establish a communication channel directly with the brand representative. The representative may also have immediate access to customers and be able to provide them with personal assistance.
The Dolce&Gabbana Mobile Fashion Channel represents a direct communication channel between the company and its customers. Its concept is to realize a new way of interaction and contact with the Dolce&Gabbana audience, using mobile devices in order to follow the users in their real life.
5. Mobile App Features
Features incorporated into a mobile app for luxury brands depend on the "mission" a brand bestows upon the application. Some apps can have in-app purchase capabilities, options for users to create wishlists, store locators, etc. – while others may simply want to create a happy buzz through a fun or creative diversion or game presentation.
The Il Palazzo app from Prada promotes its collection allowing users to take a virtual interactive tour inside the graceful Prada Pallace.
The goal may also be to create an app for fashion company workers as a motivational sales tool. One of our clients asked us to create what became an awesome app for their sales team that allows team members to access exclusive info on new fashion products while presenting the products themselves to the customer. Unique visual and motion-based features make this app very engaging while remaining in full alignment with brand image.
There are no pre-defined features that differentiate an app for a luxury fashion brand from any other. However, a suitable pattern of features – combined with superior graphic and user interface design – will produce an app that successfully elicits an emotional response from the user through creating a world of quality and luxury in which your brand virtually resides.