Luxury Institute News

October 30, 2014

October 21, 2014

Luxury Institute Introduces Luxcelerate, an Empirically Proven Method to Drive High Performance in Building Client Relationships

Marketwired
October 21, 2014 80763_LuxcelerateLogo

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Oct 21, 2014) – Today, the New York-based Luxury Institute announced the launch of Luxcelerate, an enhanced version of its innovative successful 7-Step Customer Culture process. Luxcelerate is designed to accelerate sales performance via a proprietary methodology that focuses on empowering the customer-facing online and offline associates, helping brands to improve both client relationships and sales exponentially.

Presently, top brands are struggling to both expand and retain their client base. Top brands have a conversion rate of 10-15%, a data collection rate of 30-40% (approximately 25% of this data is unusable) and a first time buyer retention rate of 10%.

Luxcelerate encourages the individual sales associate to learn and execute the best practices in client relationship building. The process is designed to improve sales performance via an exclusive methodology that focuses on relationship building, while improving a brand’s conversion, data collection and retention rates.

Luxcelerate’s proprietary methodology is based on shared relationship values and standards that are designed by a brand’s front-line teams, and is therefore customized to fit the unique DNA and culture of each brand. Custom education programs use empirically proven learning principles to drive retention of critical knowledge. Measurement and reinforcement methodologies are then deployed individually to guarantee consistent daily execution. The outcome is humanistic, effective client relationship building that leads to sharp increases in sales.

Luxury Institute’s CEO Milton Pedraza developed Luxcelerate’s 7-step methodology. Mr. Pedraza established this innovative methodology after being inspired by best practices from education, medicine and aviation. Using this process, a number of top-tier luxury brands have doubled, or tripled, the accurate collection of critical client data, and have significantly increased client conversion and retention rates. Luxury Institute has worked with the top brands of major luxury groups, well-known brands owned by private equity firms, and small boutique brands, to drive sales at rates of 15-30% per annum.

“The Luxury Institute was invaluable in helping Malia Mills define and implement our clienteling process. The first quarter that we implemented our program we increased sales by a significant amount.” — Carol Mills, Co-Founder, Malia Mills

“Since embarking on this project, we have seen double digit increases in data collection, conversion and a significant acceleration in retail momentum.” — Claudia Poccia, President and CEO of Gurwitch, Owner of the Laura Mercier brand

References are available upon request. For more information please email luxinfo@luxuryinstitute.com or fill out a contact form at www.luxuryinstitute.com

Source: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/luxury-institute-introduces-luxcelerate-empirically-proven-method-drive-high-performance-1959706.htm

September 26, 2013

Strategy emerges from customer culture: Luxury Institute CEO

By Joe McCarthy
Luxury Daily
September 25, 2013

NEW YORK – The CEO of The Luxury Institute at the Luxury Interactive 2013 conference said that luxury brands should focus on building a culture of relationship building and sales will follow.

The executive said that many conventional paradigms of behavior should be flipped to create an environment steeped in meaningful purpose. In his “7 Paradoxes of Luxury Marketing” talk he verified the profitability of such strategy suggestions with hard evidence.

“If you want to create a great customer culture, you have to think in terms of paradox,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, New York.

“Some people say culture trumps strategy, but I don’t believe that’s true,” he said. “Strategy emerges from culture.”

Internal paradigms
Mr. Pedraza discussed several remedies for poor strategies that have become entrenched in business culture.

The first paradox dealt with shifting a brand’s focus from commodities to meaningful purpose. This objective reaches beyond revising product development to facilitating a better society.

Mr. Pedraza at the Luxury Interactive 2013 conference

Next, companies should switch the tone of their command style from hierarchical and militant to empowering and creative.

Mr. Pedraza said that employees are more responsive and more likely to create innovative ideas when given liberty to act without constraints. An example of this would be giving in-store employees technology to pursue friendly relationships with customers post-purchase.

Third, Mr. Pedraza said that decision-making should incorporate employees from all levels of operation as well as consumers. When decisions are cloistered among high-level executives, simple or uncanny solutions can be overlooked.

Looking out
Educating employees should not resemble a classroom. Rather, Mr. Pedraza insisted that employees will quickly adopt brand values when trained in a gradual, interactive and personal manner.

A skill-based hiring process should be tempered with value-based merits. A candidate selected after an assessment of values will likely assimilate into brand culture with more ease.

Mr. Pedraza urged brands to incentivize the right behavior. Employees will likely be more proactive if they know their behavior is recognized.

Finally, a meaningful brand culture should be reinforced daily to ensure its fortitude. Lexus and The Ritz-Carlton were two luxury brands that Mr. Pedraza acknowledged as pioneers of meaningful brand culture.

For instance, Toyota Corp.’s Lexus is promoting the 2014 IS vehicle with a collaboratively created, stop-motion Instagram film that draws on the perspectives of 212 fans to show the vehicle in a range of angles and tones.

Under the orchestration of a directorial team during Instagram’s #WorldwideInstameet, car enthusiasts and Instagram users from a variety of background blended their personalities in a film that colorfully animates the IS. By leveraging Instagram in this unifying fashion, Lexus will likely grab the attention of a younger demographic and potentially trigger more collaborative, stop-motion films (see story).

Ultimately, if employees are infused with a sense of purpose, they will likely be more effective sales agents.

“Employees that believe companies have strong sense of purpose versus companies without purpose perform much better,” Mr. Pedraza said.

http://www.luxurydaily.com/strategy-emerges-from-customer-culture-exec/

September 11, 2013

Will new owners bring Neiman Marcus and Saks into the future of retail?

By Erin Shea
September 10, 2013
Luxury Daily

The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. was purchased for $6 billion by investment firm Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Sept. 9, which makes this the second United States-based department store after Saks Fifth Avenue that has new Canadian owners.

Neiman Marcus’ new owners now have the opportunity to further expand the brand and revamp it into a retailer that is ready to take on the next generation of consumers. With the recent purchases of both Neiman Marcus and Saks, both retailers are looking to expand their global presence while creating a loyal customer base.

“On behalf of the entire management team, we are delighted to be joining with Ares and CPPIB to continue enhancing our strong brands by offering our customers the best edited merchandise assortments as well as delivering a superlative omnichannel shopping experience,” said Karen Katz, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, Dallas.

Next step
Neiman Marcus’ former owners, Warburg Pincus and TPG Capital, purchased the retailer in 2005 for $5.1 billion.

The companies sold the retailer on Sept. 9 for $6 billion, after ending a long struggle to sell it, according to Reuters.

With its new owners, Neiman Marcus is looking to expand while keeping its consumer’s satisfied with its omnichannel offers, which is similar to what Saks is aiming to do.

Saks’s new owner Hudson’s Bay Company will help boost its omnichannel experience as part of its portfolio of retailers.

Saks’ new Look campaign

Hudson’s Bay Co. purchased Saks July 29 for $16 per share in an all-cash transaction that is valued at $2.9 billion, which includes debt. This purchase is likely to help Saks reach its goal of becoming an omnichannel retailer and provide its customers with an enhanced shopping experience.

Both Saks and Neiman Marcus are likely to benefit rom new ownership so that they can focus on building up consumer relations.

“There has been a lot of capital accumulated in Canada in the last couple of years,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, New York. “I think that when the Canadians look around the world, they see the U.S. as a growth opportunity and they especially see luxury as a growth opportunity.

“The Canadians tend to be brand builders and there is a tremendous opportunity to build up customer culture since Neiman Marucs is lacking in this area,” he said.

“Neiman Marcus needs loyal customers and Saks does too.”

In addition, these new owners could help the brands reach other goals by expanding their presence in Canada.

“Neiman Marcus and Saks are great retailers and great brands that can easily extend to Canada, especially in ecommerce,” said Marie Driscoll, CEO and chief consultant at Driscoll Advisors, New York.

Just a coincidence
However, the purchases of Neiman Marcus and Saks could be looked at as just a coincidence happening around the same time.

Although, both of the sales do seem to indicate that the new owners have faith in the retailers to remain strong in the future.

“Investment companies are global,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami, FL. “It’s serendipity that both Saks and Neiman Marcus will be owned by companies based in Canada.

“Saks and Neiman Marcus are the heart of American luxury,” he said. “The two brands escaped the recession unscathed.

“There is a continuum between when you’re purchased by a private equity group and when you’re sold by a private equity group that commences with optimism and a willingness to invest.”

http://www.luxurydaily.com/will-new-owners-bring-neiman-marcus-and-saks-into-the-future-of-retail/

July 3, 2013

Survey: Wealthy Women Prefer Jewelry From Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. is the jewelry brand most widely purchased by ultra-wealthy women, according to a study by The Luxury Institute.

By Daniel Ford
JCK Online
July 2, 2013

The institute surveyed ultra-wealthy U.S. consumers with minimum net worth of $5 million about luxury brands they buy and the relationships they have with luxury sales professionals.

David Yurman and Cartier followed Tiffany on the list. The women surveyed said they have a preferred salesperson at all three jewelers. And never underestimate the power of the pen: 
More than half of ultra-wealthy women who purchase from both jewelry and fashion brands say they appreciate handwritten thank-you notes.

“Relationship selling is not something exclusive to markets like high-end automobiles, real estate and wealth management services,” said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza in a statement. “Even in luxury jewelry and fashion, relationships cultivated by trust and an understanding of customer preferences can help boost both the frequency and size of sales.”

December 10, 2012

Superior Craftsmanship, Materials and Customer Service Define Luxury Market and Drive Premium Pricing According To New Survey

(NEW YORK) December 10, 2012 – In a new survey by independent New York-based Luxury Institute, superior craftsmanship, materials and customer service scored highest in terms of helping to define the luxury market while driving premium pricing.  Additionally, survey respondents overwhelmingly favored a long-lasting, high quality product over one that merely enhanced status.

The survey, in cooperation with the newly relaunched Lincoln Motor Company, asked wealthy luxury automobile consumers to share their opinions that may have altered since the recession about buying considerations and luxury spending across a variety of product categories.

“High standards for the tangible quality of goods are to be expected from such refined buyers,” said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.  “Of particular interest is the growing leadership of U.S. firms as global luxury brand icons.  Jewelry from Tiffany & Co., consumer electronics from Apple and handbags from Coach are among the world’s most prominent brands, giving consumers worldwide more reasons to pursue luxury in the States.”

Defining and Driving the Luxury Market

When it comes to what drives luxury and justifies premium pricing, 86% of affluent Americans surveyed say that superior craftsmanship is the deciding quality.  Nearly as many (84%) say they also expect the use of superior materials in luxury products.  The third most important consideration, cited by 76% of wealthy respondents, is a “superior customer experience both during and after the sale.”

A majority of wealthy consumers report enjoying their luxury purchases discreetly versus proudly showing their purchases to others.  In addition, more than 90% indicate that acquiring a long-lasting, high quality product is more important than enhancing their status.

“What we see in this insightful Luxury Institute research is that during the recession, the U.S. luxury market changed and people changed,” said Jim Farley, Executive Vice President of Ford Motor Company Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln.  “They want what appeals most to their desires and not what they believe will impress others and this is a trend we believe will continue to grow ever stronger.  We also took good note that in the automotive sector the expectation of great service is still being underserved, something we intend to address with the new Lincoln.”

Other survey results highlighted the fact that half of high-income shoppers rely on user reviews and the recommendations of family and close friends, enabling quick sharing of opinions and influence.  These top-two influencers of luxury consumers’ purchase decisions demonstrate how relative newcomers can quickly establish brands that compete with established stalwarts, and how traditional brands can reinvigorate themselves via digital media.

Added Milton, “What we hear consistently and loudly from wealthy consumers is that the manner in which the goods are sold, as well as the service provided after the sale, are nearly as important as the products themselves.  With American brands growing in luxury influence, there is a clear eagerness on the part of the global consumer to embrace American luxury brands, making service a critical success factor for the future.”

Survey Methodology
The Luxury Institute conducted an in-depth online survey with 1,216 affluent U.S. consumers in cooperation with the Lincoln Motor Company.  Half male and half female respondents were recruited and screened to only include those age 21 or older with a minimum gross annual income of $150,000 and ownership/lease of at least one luxury automobile.

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth Consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates  LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

October 11, 2012

Ultra-Wealthy Shoppers Spend More On Luxury Where They Maintain Personal Relationships; Pentamillionaires most likely to be close with specific sales professionals at Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman

(NEW YORK) October 11, 2012 – U.S. consumers with at least $5 million in assets and $200,000 in annual income share detailed opinions and observations about their relationships with salespeople in six luxury categories in the new 2012 Luxury Customer Relationship Index survey from the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute.

High-ticket categories show higher rates of customers who deal with a specific salesperson.  Watches (49%) lead all categories in terms of proportion of customers who maintain relationships with salespeople, followed by jewelry (40%) and men’s ready-to-wear (38%). There is a noticeable drop-off in rates of personal relationships at luxury retailers (30%), handbag brands (27%) and women’s ready-to-wear (21%).

Across categories, 70% of ultra-wealthy customers who transact and communicate with a specific salesperson say that this relationship causes them to spend more on goods and services in stores and on the Web. The biggest positive impact on sales comes when customers maintain relationships with salespeople in luxury retail, and in both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear categories.

In luxury retail, Bergdorf Goodman (51%) and Barneys (49%) enjoy the highest rates of maintaining relationships with ultra-wealthy customers, with larger chains like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom seeing lower incidence of relationships. In the middle are Brooks Brothers (36%), Neiman Marcus (32%), Lord & Taylor (30%), and Saks (26%).

“Luxury retailers know that relationships drive sales,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “The right hiring, education programs and Customer Culture help to promote more productive relationships and higher sales.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

September 18, 2012

Luxury Institute CEO on Why You Must Empower, Educate & Mobilize Sales Forces

By Kelly Hushon
The eTail Blog
September 17, 2012

Milton Pedraza, CEO at The Luxury Institute, says we should be providing just as much information to the sales professional as we do to the customer. Makes sense. Somehow many retailers still aren’t doing that.

At a presentation he gave at eTail Europe this past June, Pedraza used Apple as an example. The company empowered its sales force by arming them with mobile devices that allowed them to interact with customers more efficiently and personally. But that’s just the beginning.

When retail stores are less full, Pedraza says there is a great opportunity for sales professionals to work on relationship building with their customers, and they can do so if they are given mobile devices with minimal functionality that allows them to reach out to the clientele they already have through email and other forms of mobile communication. Sales professionals can reach out to customers and nurture relationships in a way that scientific algorithms and data mining can’t compete with because, quite simply, they’re not as good as human beings.

It might seem radical – you might be thinking, “So you’re asking me to give my sales person in my store a mobile device and let them openly and directly email customers? NO WAY!”

According to Pedraza, it doesn’t have to be so scary. The two keys to doing this successfully are:

1. Hire the right people. Hire people who share your customer centric values. If they are selfish, they should work elsewhere.
2. Educate, educate, educate. And add to that Empower; use incentives that will empower them to build relationships with their customer base.

So why haven’t more retail operations done this already? Pedraza says it’s because it’s easier to create a technology app than it is to face the idea of finding the absolute best people, training them and paying them properly. He’s convinced though, that if we do this, it will pay off.

Customers who have admitted having a good relationship with a company and/or its sales force have been proven to spend more wallet share with said company.

Click on the link below to view the brief video of Luxury Institute CEO, Milton Pedraza, and hear more about why this idea works – and why, if you’re not already – you should be doing it:
http://www.theetailblog.com/featured/ceo-the-luxury-institute-on-why-you-must-empower-educate-mobilize-sales-forces-now/

September 12, 2012

In Asian Luxury Hotels, Wealthy Chinese Love Lodging With Hyatt And Marriot, But Japan Prefers Putting On the Ritz

(NEW YORK) September 12, 2012 – U.S. hotel operators prove popular among wealthy travelers in Asia’s two biggest markets, according to two new Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) surveys of affluent Chinese and Japanese by the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute. Japanese travelers earning at least 15 million yen per year ($190,000) evaluated 20 luxury hotel brands, and Chinese consumers with minimum annual income of one million yuan ($157,000) considered 26 luxury-lodging names.

Wealthy respondents rated hotels 1-10 on criteria including quality of accommodations, exclusivity, degree of status enhancement and ability to deliver special guest experiences.  They also indicated which hotel brands they planned to stay with this year, and whether they’re willing to pay premium prices or to recommend a brand to people close to them.

In China, St. Regis (8.41) earns the highest LBSI score, but the JW Marriott (36%) and Grand Hyatt (34%) were most frequently visited in the past year by wealthy Chinese travelers and are the two hotels where they plan to stay next. Along with InterContinental, Marriott and Hyatt are also the two most likely brands to receive favorable recommendations from wealthy Chinese travelers.

In Japan, Ritz-Carlton ranks at the top for both popularity and prestige. Ritz earns the second-highest (7.62) LBSI score, just behind Peninsula Hotels (7.66), but it is deemed the hotel most worthy of a price premium.  Ritz-Carlton is also the most popular choice for the next hotel visit.

“Luxury hotels don’t achieve consistently superior ratings by accident,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Standards, systems and training underpin excellence in any service business, especially luxury.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

Ralph Lauren And Calvin Klein Are The Most Popular Fashion Brands For Wealthy Shoppers, But Women See More Prestige In Chanel, Vuitton and Prada; Men Prefer Italian.

(NEW YORK) September 12, 2012 – Men and women earning at least $150,000 a year shared detailed opinions on 30 Ready-to-Wear luxury fashion brands in the latest Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey from the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute. LBSI scores comprise average (1-10) scores on product quality, customer service, social status and ability of the brand to deliver special customer experiences.

Chanel earns the highest LBSI score (7.49) from women, ranking comfortably above Louis Vuitton (7.29) and Prada (7.21). Chanel is also the leading brand for delivering the best customer experience, and the one most deserving of charging premium prices.

Among high-income men, the highest ranking brands are three from Italy: Canali (7.84), Brioni (7.80) and Ermenegildo Zegna (7.72). Canali earns the highest overall rankings for product quality and service experience, and it’s one of the top three brands most deserving of charging premium prices, along with Zegna and Brunello Cucinelli.

Brand prestige and popularity are two different matters. The top two brands purchased in the past year by both men and women are Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, and Ralph Lauren is the brand most mentioned as one wealthy consumers will buy in the coming year. Zegna ranks second for intended purchase among men.

“With luxury Ready-to-Wear, wealthy consumers certainly place tremendous weight on product quality, but those brands that combine great products with excellent service are the ones delivering superior overall experiences,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Consistently delivering that kind of experience is at the heart of sustaining premium pricing.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)

The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

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