The luxury market has taken a significant hit as a result of the pandemic, but some brands and retailers are finding new ways to adapt, respond and thrive.
Olivela, a digitally native, mission-based retail platform, is emphasizing its key differentiators as a way to forge stronger relationships with customers and reach new audiences across channels.
Matthew Alland, the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for Olivela, joined the Retail Remix podcast to share what the broader team has learned about its customer base, and how they’ve had to adapt to new behaviors and expectations. He will be digging deeper into these initiatives, and specifically how the Olivela team has had to change the way they work and collaborate, during the upcoming Retail Innovation Conference.
Although the eTailer has two very distinct target customers — the fashion-forward Millennial and the style-conscious 40-to-50-year-old consumer — there are core behaviors that transcend these distinctions and, ultimately, guide Olivela’s experience strategies. These are the key takeaways from the conversation:
A ‘philanthropic DNA’ remains at the center of all Olivela experiences.
Since its inception in 2017, Olivela has had philanthropy in its DNA: 20% of all sales are donated to causes that the brand and its customers care about — from girls’ education and women’s empowerment to climate action, health services and more. Although the luxury consumer has evolved significantly as a result of COVID-19, their focus on conscious consumerism and charitable giving have remained, according to Alland.
“Consumers are more cognizant of the impact their purchase is having — whether it’s on the environment, how brands treat workers, whether they support black-owned businesses or give back to causes that mean something to them,” Alland explained. During the heart of the pandemic, Olivela experienced revenue growth of 270% over a three-month period, demonstrating to Alland that “mission, cause and the impact of what you purchase truly matters in today’s society.”
Through the remainder of 2020, Olivela will continue to lean into its philanthropic mission, with different themes for each month that will be activated with content and engagement across channels.
Olivela IRL successfully meets consumers’ content cravings.
“Customers love content,” Alland said. “Content is queen in this world and people really enjoy getting new information.” The Olivela IRL platform capitalizes on this reality by providing consumers with a multitude of resources that educate, engage and inspire them. “It was created as a one-stop destination for all things beauty, fashion, education and fun,” he added.
The essence of the IRL experience is extended across channels — from the Olivela e-Commerce site to branded social accounts and digital advertising campaigns. For example, the eTailer’s Work-From-Home Edit connects visitors to product recommendations that allow them to practice self-care and look stylish on upcoming Zoom calls. On social media, members of the Olivela team share tips for surviving work-from-home life. Some have even hosted workout classes and game nights.
Digital and store appointments help fulfill the luxury promise.
“People love having personalized service and being taken care of,” Alland noted. This is especially true among luxury consumers, who expect higher-quality brand interactions along with higher price tags. Olivela rose to the occasion by offering one-on-one, 15-minute beauty consultations with members of the beauty team. The experience was promoted via email and social media and appointments filled up very quickly, creating not just a new value for shoppers but a new customer stream for the Olivela business. In fact, the appointments drove a conversion rate of approximately 62%, proving to Alland and his team that shoppers, now more than ever, want both to learn something and to feel good about themselves.
When Olivela reopened its store in Nantucket, Mass., the retailer offered a similar appointment-based service. Shoppers who felt uncomfortable shopping during general hours could book one-to-one consultations with an associate. “Anyone who felt uncomfortable but still wanted that luxury experience could do that,” said Alland. “People like that high touch, but still want to feel safe and secure.”