Corporate Eye

User Experience Critical to Luxury Brand Mobile App Success

brand mobile appsHigh-end consumers who purchase luxury brands have high-end expectations for those brands. In the past, luxury brands surrounded consumers with in-person brand experiences that enabled those consumers to feel special with customized shopping experiences.

However, research shows that the wealthier a consumer is, the more likely he or she owns a smartphone or tablet device and the more likely he or she is to make a purchase using that mobile device. The question for luxury brand marketers is how do you successfully translate the high-end consumer experience from brick-and-mortar stores and locations into a mobile environment? The answer might not be as hard to figure out as they might think.

According to a survey conducted by Luxury Institute and Plastic Mobile, affluent smartphone owners who have downloaded or plan to download a mobile app have fairly simple expectations for a luxury brand’s app. The features high-end consumers want from a luxury brand mobile app are:

  • Loyalty programs = 46%
  • Early access to sales = 45%
  • Exclusive updates about new products or services = 39%
  • Exclusive offers for those who downloaded the app = 38%
  • Early access or sneak peeks to new releases = 36%
  • High-quality images and/or video = 36%
  • Services and VIP privileges for top customers = 36%
  • Ability to purchase from mobile device = 34%
  • Easy access to customer service from device = 34%
  • Extension of brand’s website = 29%
  • Customization based on consumer preferences = 28%
  • Recommendations based on personal preferences = 25%
  • Information unattainable via the website or in-store = 20%

Bottom-line, consumers expect luxury brands to make them feel special and it can be done with loyalty programs, sales, and other traditional marketing programs. However, high-end consumers are also likely to expect exceptional performance from luxury brand apps, sleek designs, and an overall perception that the app is just as high-end as the brand and the consumer. This is definitely an instance where an app that doesn’t look and work amazingly could do more harm than good to the brand. After all, most consumers who purchase luxury brands expect nothing less than the best, and that includes luxury brand mobile apps, too. A luxury brand mobile app that doesn’t look great or work well could completely destroy the high-end consumer’s perception of that brand.

Image: Cristiano Betta

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.