This is just one example of Farfetch’s tech-driven approach, which it recently announced alongside a set of ‘Store of the Future’ technologies – designed to enhance the future retail experience for both brands and consumers. 

So, what exactly does this future look like? Here’s a run-down of Farfetch’s strategy and what it says about the wider luxury retail market as a whole. 

Fusion of the online and offline experience

According to Bain & Company, 70% of luxury purchases today are influenced by online interactions, with shoppers partaking in at least one digital interaction with a brand before buying. 

That being said, it also predicts that stores will play a critical role in the luxury retail market, with 75% of purchases still occurring in a physical location by 2025. 

So, which one will win out? 

According to Farfetch – neither. Instead, it predicts a future of ‘connected retail’ – a blend of the digital and physical realms that will allow consumers to seamlessly shift between the two. 

The brand’s CEO, José Neves, recently suggested that this will include a combination of innovative tech in-store such as virtual reality, emotion-scanning software, and innovative payment options.

As well as enhancing the physical shopping experience for consumers, this use of technology will also allow retailers to collect vital data about browsing behaviour in-store. In turn, this will inform online targeting, and so the cycle goes on.

Browns, the New York-based store owned by Farfetch, will be the first to experiment with these ‘Store of the Future’ technologies. 

Innovative online services

Meanwhile, Farfetch aims to enhance its ecommerce service with a selection of new digital services. 

With younger customers reportedly taking one-third less time than older customers to make decisions, 90-minute delivery specifically targets the ‘I want it now’ mind-set of millennials. A demographic that clearly wants their Gucci loafers delivered stat. 

Consumer expectations are also changing when it comes to personal aspects such as customisation and an alignment of personal beliefs and values. 

With this in mind, Farfetch has also launched a design-your-own tool for shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood. Allowing online shoppers to customise its Beya Bespoke line, it’s another example of the retailer putting greater control into the hands of consumers.

Will others take note? 

While the physical shopping experience is still in demand across all sectors, it appears to present a greater opportunity for luxury retailers. This is because consumers naturally expect to leave with an ‘experience’ to go along with the actual product they’re buying.

By offering a much more intimate and immersive experience, it is a chance for brands and retailers to forge an emotional connection – far more so than online. 

Luxury retailers have clearly recognised this, with many introducing in-store technologies to dazzle shoppers. Dior launched a virtual reality headset to give shoppers a behind-the-scenes look of its runway show, for instance. And Harvey Nichols introduced Project 109 – an in-store concept space that hosts immersive installations and pop-ups.

With the announcement of Store of the Future, Farfetch might just have upped the ante. 

Related reading: