Redefining luxury Luxury could be a relative term. While it can be easily perceived as extravagance, it could also symbolize status and personal identity and distinguishability. Premium pricing is not a parameter to tag something as a ‘luxury’ but it is the reason behind it. Even real estate is expensive but that does not make it a luxury. But if you fancy owning multiple properties (not as a business), then it enters the realm of luxury. A sense of identity associated with a brand is a critical parameter in luxury. Not everyone with the income power buys a Rolex or a Lamborghini or why Gucci may be preferred over Chanel. Luxury is also affected by occupation, lifestyle, and to a great extent, maintaining the status quo and distinguishability in the relevant social strata. Luxury has moved beyond the ‘product’. Now it is also about sophistication, personalization, and attention in service delivery and support. And to make all these things possible, luxury products often come with a premium price tag and the target market often remains individuals and regions with high disposable income. The UAE has the second-best GDP per capita in the GCC after Qatar grossing over USD 40,000. The high-end customers in the Middle-East are known for being vogue-conscious and having an unrelenting attitude for embracing the best the market has to offer. Challenges Faced by Brands in Luxury Retail However, the Middle-East is not an easy market to penetrate and comes with its own set of challenges. Without the necessary experience and expertise, it could prove to be an uphill task even to many experienced luxury retail consulting firms or luxury brand consulting firms. Undermining the criticality of the customer support and service system When it comes to high-net individuals who are spending a substantial amount on luxury brands, they expect value for their money. And for this, you need a robust and world-class customer support and service system in place. Many business establishments fail to address this need, and they miserably fail when it comes to addressing customer sensitivities. An ideal customer service mechanism should be complimenting the marketing initiatives driven by the company for strengthening its customer base. Lack of innovative value-added services Customer loyalty is an elusive currency in the Middle-East luxury market as the customer is spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury brands. The customer has evolved and international brands no longer hold the sway as they used to. This has compelled luxury stores to innovate. Today, luxury stores are offering larger retail spaces, private areas, comfortable seating, and extravagant Arabic hospitality to their customers as part of the shopping experience. Inadequate staff management and training Luxury brands are meant for a very unique section of the society and they come with a refined understanding of products. Hence, it becomes crucial that the staff who interact with these customers are trained, well-groomed, and knowledgeable about the products they are dealing with. One false step and you can lose out on a potential sale. This scenario makes it necessary that the staff manning the stores are chosen carefully with due attention given to factors like social skills, command over the language, and interpersonal skills. Process-driven approach Any retail outlet that is run with the help of established systems and business processes is more likely to succeed in the long run. Mostly in the case of traditional family-run businesses, it has been seen that with a change in leadership their business operations are also adversely affected especially in the backdrop of poor succession planning. But such fallouts are common for non-family based businesses also. And one of the biggest reasons for this is the absence of robust and defined working systems. Sell your brand, not the product In luxury retail, piggy-backing on the strength of the uber-luxury products being sold at the store is missing out on the concept of luxury. Luxury is entangled with the living and lifestyle of the customers. Customers need to see how your brand resonates with his/her individuality and aspirations. And that includes every touchpoint, every interaction, and every transaction. Loss Prevention Management Although loss prevention is not a big factor among businesses in the Middle-East due to the low rates of crime. However, given the high price tag associated with the products being sold, there is enough need to put in place systems that would prevent even a minor misdemeanour from occurring. Every luxury store must have in place a robust system that detects any fraudulent activity and rectifies it quickly to avert any such occurrence going into the future. Safety and security should remain as one of the top prerogatives in luxury business consulting. How YRC (Your Retail Coach) can help as luxury retail consultants YRC helps luxury brands exert a firm footing in the UAE’s competitive luxury retail market. Having spelt out the challenges associated with running luxury retail stores, let us give you a glimpse of how we help entrepreneurs and businessmen in establishing and better managing their luxury retail business with our luxury retail consulting services. Market Research The need for a good market research needs no separate highlight. In market research as part of our luxury brand consulting services, we will cover a thorough and comprehensive study and analysis of the market with the aim of providing you with a detailed picture of the market potential and extracting actionable insights to help your business make important decisions on target market, brand positioning, pricing, competitive stance, etc. Business Model and Business Plan With assistance in business model development, our team of expert luxury retail consultants will help you identify and map the framework of value-chain and internal capabilities. This will form the basic structure of how your luxury brand will create the intended value-based offering going through a system of internal capabilities. Once our team of luxury retail consultants give you a picture of how your business model will work, our focus will shift to give you the numerical preparedness i.e. addressing the commercial viability in terms of demand forecasting, inventory calculations and purchase planning, projected sales turnover and revenue, projected profit and loss statements, ROI and breakeven analysis, etc. Better CX In our experience of delivering luxury brand consulting services, we have witnessed that delivering superlative customer experience is a critical requirement in luxury retail. Businesses must bear in mind that a returning customer is coming back to the brand, not just the store. Our CX and SOP experts will help your business in the planning and implementation of CX strategies towards ensuring that your brand delivers the intended shopping experience consistently across all the stores. In planning and delivering our luxury retail consulting services, every facet of the customer experience is given due attention to evolve distinct strategies that are known to deliver intended results. Become process-driven Every entrepreneur in the retail business seeks growth and expansion. This is not possible until the business owner can standardize procedures and replicate them at scale in multiple locations. The same rule applies to luxury store management. Driven by a team of expert luxury retail consultants, our expertise in business process management and SOPs will be guided towards defining and mapping the business processes and operations of your luxury retail enterprise in a planned and systematic manner. Franchise Consulting A possible scenario is also that you might already be an established brand in your country seeking to enter the UAE’s or Dubai’s luxury retail market through franchising. We have a dedicated franchise consulting service wing to help established businesses become successful franchisors. From expansion strategy and marketing to mapping operations and process audits, our expert will traverse this journey with your business. We are a boutique retail consulting firm. To know more about our luxury retail consulting services or if you have any service-related query on luxury brand consulting, drop us a message, and we will get back to you.