To uncover the underlying motivations of luxury consumption, The Peak meets with CS Fan, General Manager of Salvatore Ferragamo Malaysia

Could you share with us your insights on the current market sentiment for luxury fashion?

Fashion changes so fast, it is not always easy to keep up. Uncertainty has become the new certainty of business and, as a brand, we have to learn to adjust under every circumstance. It is an exciting time for us in the industry as we try to understand and harness those challenges, and turn them into opportunities.

New practices and technologies will continue to raise the bar for luxury fashion. We have a truly exceptional opportunity to capture growth in today’s digital universe. Hence, I believe that it is crucial for luxury brands to adapt to the ever-changing market but, at the same time, focus on providing customers with a greater shopping experience and seamless service personalisation across all potential customer touch points – both online and offline.

Current trends indicate that spending is shifting from traditional goods to experiences. Can fashion brands get into the action?

Luxury fashion is a particular industry and is defined by its customers. We have to convince consumers that they want to buy even if their closets are already filled. How can you stimulate someone who has plenty? This is where authentic narrative and creative storytelling come in. There is also an increasing need for us to respond to the digitally savvy customers, where experiences trump singular products and values quality.

In this day and age, it is important to create a great digital and physical experience end-to-end for customers. Seamless and cohesive storytelling via these various channels can differentiate you from competitors and, most importantly, engage the hearts and minds of customers. We need to expand our reach beyond a traditional base by leveraging compelling digital media, creating experiential physical spaces and effective social media engagement. However, customers should always be in our minds when these experiences are created. Without great products and supportive customer experience, the halo effect that these campaigns generate will not reap the full potential of its benefits. I believe the most successful brand campaigns don’t just produce awe-inspiring creative campaigns, but know how to integrate their teams in delivering a seamless transition from hype to service.

Luxury fashion is a particular industry and is defined by its customers. We have to convince consumers that they want to buy even if their closets are already filled.

Currently, we’re seeing a ‘fashion immediacy’ concept of presenting a designer collection that can be purchased and delivered immediately after its runway debut. What are your thoughts on this ‘see now, buy now’ business model?

I believe that the strategy may work better for mid-price brands than it does for luxury ones, and may work well when it is backed by enough marketing and social media. It is important, however, for brands to come up with a full strategy that continues to drive sales throughout the entire season, versus that one time.

For luxury brands, it is crucial to have a longer-term relationship with our customers. The instant gratification element of the ‘see now, buy now’ model might very well decrease the desire, anticipation and romance that come with the traditional fashion system. Despite the hype, I don’t foresee the model replacing the traditional fashion buying calendar anytime soon but, instead, offers an alternative for brands and shoppers alike. Ultimately, great products need time for true creativity and quality to flourish.

As we’re witnessing the advent of online and experiential shopping experiences, what do you think the store of the future looks like? For luxury goods, especially fashion, many shoppers would still want to touch and try on the products before they make a purchase. So, I don’t think the physical store is going away in the near future. However, I foresee more high-tech retail concepts popping up – stores that allow shoppers to move seamlessly between the online and offline worlds as they are looking for the most convenient way to shop.


PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

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