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Providing Luxury Experiences through Mobile Apps

By Nick Epson on October 26, 2020

There are segments of many markets where exclusivity is the best way to go – luxury apps can deliver a high-end experience for your customers as high-dollar items and services create a degree of expectation. When your customers recognize you as a provider of higher echelon products and services, they want to feel as though their experience is special.

Companies cultivate their reputation as being luxury providers to gain a following of specific customers. Today, this process can be augmented with mobile apps that deliver experiences that align with this higher grade of business.

For app developers, creating unique experiences is a mandatory part of building apps. However, in the luxury space, a deeper connection is necessary to maintain that kind of exclusive air that helps sustain the lavishness of a brand. As such, you need to keep in mind that there are necessary elements that embellish a luxurious brand’s status.

Here, we’re going to take a look at some examples of apps that deliver luxury experiences which we feel businesses should emulate when they’re trying to carve out an existence as an exclusive provider in some market. We’ll also touch on concepts that should play a role in developing an app as well as look at a few examples of features that are used by popular brands.

A look at successful apps that deliver luxury experiences

Some brands, like Porsche, do an excellent job of providing an app that touts the luxuriousness of the app’s brand, yet is also highly accessible. The Roads by Porsche app for iOS leverages the company’s brand as well as provides a feature that isn’t just some cookie-cutter map function. They successfully built a community of Porsche drivers and other driving enthusiasts that help cultivate a database of maps that are designed to engage with those who are passionate about driving. Their app is about an experience and since it’s backed by Porsche, it has a luxurious feel.

The Hotel Tonight service is worth a look as it connects people with “last minute hotel deals” as well as a digital concierge for stays at higher-end locations. While the site is useful as a standalone solution, downloading the app offers more of a luxury experience by way of a loyalty program. Every time you book a hotel through their service, you earn points based on the dollar amount you spend that can be applied to future bookings. 

The Gucci app for iOS is another great example of a brand that boasts a luxurious edge and offers modern features that make shopping for their products accessible – mind you, not necessarily attainable – to buyers. One interesting feature they furnish is the ability to virtually try on their products using augmented reality (AR) after signing up for an account. After trying on the product, you can easily navigate to their site to shop for the items you virtually tried on – for example, I could have simply tapped my screen a few times to own this $630 pair of Gucci sneakers.

Jokes aside, people that have great experiences begin to develop loyalty towards brands because of how it makes them feel. Though Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts hardly qualify as luxurious, the success of their apps and overall business shows us that their brands are beloved by their regular customers. Donuts and coffee can be found anywhere (and often at a lower price point) but such programs help keep each brand in the forethought of their customers, plus they provide promotions that keep customers coming through doors and drive-thrus.

What to think about when building an app that delivers luxury experiences

Some entrepreneurs out there realize that they want to have something that’s “exclusive” for its market but aren’t sure where to go. The first step is coming to terms with what market you want to tap then think about what kind of valuable luxury you can provide.

A quick look at a few different examples shows us how the idea of luxury connects with spending.

  • In the travel industry, some customers prefer to have the best accommodations when flying, only traveling in the highest tier offered by airlines. These individuals spend extra airline miles (or money) to fly first class which shows us there is a market where people will go the extra length for a particular travel status. 
  • Looking at another travel example, some turn to Blade to get places over an Uber. This booking service for in-city flights gives customers the ultimate in luxury travel – plus high-end lounges while you wait – by allowing them to take helicopters or small aircraft to select destinations. This is arguably a step above Uber Lux which offers a far more luxurious ride option than their standard tier of service. In either example, both cater to those looking for a unique travel experience, not so much the process of getting from point A to point B.
  • The fashion industry is unique as it reveals that there is a unique appeal towards items just because they’re expensive. When a brand is established as a lavish entity, people become inclined to own such items as they feel it contributes to their status. 
  • Hospitality and entertainment apps like Ticketmaster offer special clubs for select customers, such as the Audience Rewards program that provides points specifically for Broadway tickets which can be redeemed for a discount at a later time. It’s easy to see why some spend more to get a free item, especially when they can apply their rewards to exactly what they want.

So long as customers are happy with their interactions, they grow to love your brand. Ultimately, loyalty and the element of exclusivity need to come together for a luxury brand and its app to succeed. Think about the first-class flying example mentioned above – the plane departs and arrives at the same time no matter where you sit meaning many first-class flyers fly this way for the simple fact that it’s a known luxury and less attainable than regular travel accommodations.

A few matters to consider when building a luxury brand and app

We discussed how Gucci offers AR technology that superimposes their products on a potential buyer – it’s important to acknowledge that this feature makes a customer “feel” something simply by seeing a luxurious item on their body. With Gucci and other similar apps like Panerai, we see that AR comes into play for personalization which is used in conjunction with the high price points of items, both of which help sell the product. This is key for luxury items in the retail app space.

But what about other industries?

Everything possible should be done to accommodate personalization meaning providing luxury experiences through an app should parallel that of a concierge. If you’re on a vacation and staying at a luxurious resort, you would expect the concierge to be able to direct you to the best-of-the-best if your heart desired it. While we didn’t talk about this in our previous examples, you should consider implementing a mechanism like a chatbot that can provide a unique experience and direct customers to the finest wares or services you have to offer. 

Reflecting on the Porsche example teaches us a lesson as well. Truly, you could build this same system into another app but it would lack the same appeal without the Porsche label. If you take a step back, you’ll notice that Porsche earned their title of being a luxurious brand by taking care of their customers and offering high-quality, high-performance vehicles – this makes their app an inherently exclusive product, even though it can be downloaded by any iPhone owner.

Finally, there is the idea of storytelling performed by the content surrounding your brand. Your company and partners need to echo the prowess of your brand and praise your dedication to customers to sustain existence in an exclusive niche. Storytelling combined with loyalty programs (and a higher-than-standard price point) all need to come together for a luxury brand to succeed.

Blue Label Labs can build apps for a luxury market 

Through big-picture analysis of the market and focused testing, our solutions-oriented teams of designers and engineers develop products that fit the mosaic of digital marketplaces, including exclusive niches. Feel free to reach out to learn more about how we build a viable app to supplement your luxury brand.

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