Podcast: Nathalie Remy (Bain & Company) deciphers changes in the consumption of luxury goods
How can we support the transformation needs of luxury brands? This is the mission of Nathalie Remy, the new guest on the LuxurynsightXFashionNetwork podcast. A partner at Bain & Company and former CEO of Christofle, she talks to Godfrey Deeny, global editor of FashionNetwork.com, about her career and how consultancies can guide luxury brands through the changes in consumer behaviour and the rise of e-commerce.
After graduating from Solvay business school and INSEAD, Nathalie Remy began her career as a consultant with Oliver Wyman and then McKinsey & Company, where she worked for 17 years. She then went on to become CEO of Christofle, a goldsmith and tableware company, from March 2018 to March 2021, during which time she completely repositioned the brand.
Supporting brands in the world of e-commerce
A partner at Bain & Company since January this year, the specialist in the luxury retail sector advises her clients on how to tackle the current changes. "Today's luxury consumers are truly omnichannel," explains Nathalie Remy. "While it is true that historically luxury has resisted strongly to e-commerce, and some brands are only today showcasing a very small portion of their offer online. But we’ve seen a massive acceleration in the past 10 years and with Covid, more recently numbers have sky rocketed."
Good online distribution is all about numbers. "We have to bear in mind that it's also about the consumer journey and their multi-faceted relationship with the luxury brand, which passes through many different contact points such as shops, the website, the brand's reputation, media presence, call centres, home delivery of the product, etc. To succeed, everything needs to be aligned with a customer-centric approach," says Nathalie Remy.
As far as consulting firms are concerned, one of the key elements in advising and guiding luxury companies in wholesaling is the collection of quantitative and qualitative data. "At Bain & Company, we have a measurement tool called the 'NPS', which stands for 'net promoter score' and assesses the level of brand recommendation by customers," adds the executive.
Measuring consumer satisfaction and commitment makes it possible to "put in place rituals and good practices at all levels of the company to ensure that all teams, via their function, geography and hierarchy, are working hand in hand to improve the customer experience," confides the consultant.
For this expert in the luxury retail sector, "what we've seen over the last decade is that the department stores that are doing best are able to offer different added value, such as a personal shopper service, with a more targeted and relevant offer for a specific target audience, and so on." So the challenge is to build a form of desirability and "loyalty to the department stores itself as its own brand and no longer just as a hub of brands."
Understanding the rise of AI
In this episode, Nathalie Remy also discusses another change that is affecting consumption and consumer behaviour: the rise of Artificial Intelligence. "I think that data collection and AI will dramatically change the way we currently work in the world of luxury and beyond, raising new questions and leading to many adaptations."
Artificial Intelligence, which has been reshaping the fashion and luxury sector since last year, can therefore be seen as "an opportunity", stresses the specialist. If left unchecked, it could create major performance gaps with rival brands.
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