Case Study: Versace
How an Iconic Luxury Brand Transformed Retail Sales Through Customer Experience
Creating memorable experiences that delight affluent clients and encapsulate the brand’s DNA is a craft very few have mastered. The luxury industry must cater to demanding clients with high standards and distinct needs, including an inherent desire for exclusivity and status to finding brands that align with their perceived selves. Seeking personable and accessible services, luxury clients expect experiences that transcend their imagination. Proving difficult to manufacture, high-end brands request the assistance of experts in the Customer Experience field who have repeatedly demonstrated successful results. On this occasion, Versace elected to work with us, CXG, to achieve the goal of elevating their sales, reputation, and customer experiences.
Exclusive, expensive and favored by the world’s elite, Versace is known for its high-quality products and bold designs. Although sales were good, Versace wanted to do something different: forge authentic relationships with current and prospective clients to distinguish from its luxury competitors while moving away from traditional KPI-driven approaches.
Already in partnership, Versace elected CXG to lead and consult on their CX transformation. Providing practical solutions, a governance approach, client insights, global measurement capabilities and direct retail experience, Versace trusted CXG to accomplish goals previously thought unachievable. Through a proactive shift in management mindset and a commitment to seeing a change in behaviours, CXG is proud to demonstrate a successful case study that regularly and actively measures the Versace client experience. Through implementing pragmatic solutions, CXG helped Versace reimagine their retail mindset and redefine their client experience with a clearly outlined roadmap to victory.
The CXG Transformation Approach
Step One: Identifying the brand’s DNA through emotional indicators
In the experience economy, quality service is standard. How clients feel when engaging with the brand is the key differentiator. Committed to Gianni Versace’s dream of fusing fashion with music and lifestyle to create vibrant pieces, Versace wanted their clients to feel electrified and entertained when interacting with the brand. By asking the question, ‘how do you want your clients to feel when engaging with Versace?’ The executive team defined three fundamental emotional indicators applicable to all interactions across every channel and touchpoint. These then became the core design principles for a new Versace experience.
Step Two: Creating Moments That Matter
Traditional retail “selling ceremonies” are linear, contrived, and often limit actions to robotic routines. By focusing on finding five key moments that matter most to their clients – and when they occurred – Versace metaphorically rejected the rule book of producing non-linear customer journey maps that prove unrealistic. Instead, by deploying an outside-in approach, teams could identify what was truly valuable to their clients. By combining emotional indicators with moments that matter, Versace created a baseline for achieving a collective mindset that formed the new, authentic Versace experience. The issue, however, was figuring out how to implement the defining moments whilst adhering to the brand DNA across global boundaries. What might create a ‘sense of family’ in Beijing – will not in L.A. Whilst the intention is to forge a consistent experience globally, you’ve got to let your staff on the ground interpret the meaning locally.
Step Three: Implementing change
With the core design elements in place, it’s time to activate the transformation. Working with pilot stores across America, Europe and Asia, CXG helped Versace define a new retail approach, including manager coaching, staff training, a new strategy, and competent testing and measuring methods. By training the Versace trainers and utilizing support materials, store managers could coach their staff without oversight from CXG. The programme showed store managers how to replicate the approach independently. However, one fundamental element that often gets ignored is accountability. Many brands fail to consistently follow through with their store managers, therefore accountability and support is necessary for maintaining consistency and delivering deliberately.
Over nine months, CXG experts worked alongside store managers monthly to conserve homogeneity of operations and foster accountability. The purpose of the coaching sessions was to ensure that previously agreed standards were adhered to and that managers remained focused and accountable for achieving their set goals over the next period. CXG coaches worked closely with the managers to show them how to implement changes, what can work best, and most importantly, be there for support – especially when they thought they were not achieving what they had set out to do.
Through continued positive guidance and leadership, CXG helped Versace achieve their mission by empowering staff to own their process and inspire them to think globally and act locally – by trusting their valuable insights. Outcomes were positive and impressive. Sales increased across six pilot stores, with results ranging from 20% to 88% like-for-like over nine months.
The CXG Takeaways
The coaching support identified and addressed significant leadership, management, and operational opportunities. The Customer Experience Evaluation (CXE) method provided real-time client insights for each store that revealed successes and areas of improvement. Until today, Sales associates are embracing the change and confidently delivering authentic, personalised, meaningful experiences to their clients.
Committed to redefining luxury experiences, CXG helps brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences that supersede expectations. CXG experts say: “don’t focus on the sales. Focus on getting the CX right.”