Digital mirror: fashion brands convey glamour online

Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:43am EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters) - With videos of catwalk shows, pictures of glamorous models and a catalog of chic products, luxury brands are creating "digital mirrors" online as they turn to the internet to tap into growing e-commerce demand.

The traditional print advert in a glossy magazine is no longer the only way to communicate with the public and fashion houses are now reaching out to their consumers through websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and phone applications.

Having created brand strength by emphasizing product design and quality and on their brand aura, fashion groups are seeking to re-create their exclusive store atmosphere online.

"If it is done well, the web can convey a luxury atmosphere even better than traditional media," Michele Norsa, chief executive of Florentine maison Salvatore Ferragamo, said.

The Web and social networking sites present strong growth prospects for luxury groups as they emerge from the crisis and consumers grow more confident using the Internet to shop.

Luxury shopping is usually associated with seeing, touching or smelling the product as well as a personal service, and this translates into a premium e-commerce experience online.

Italy's Yoox, which powers sites for names such as Emporio Armani and Valentino, says it seeks to create sites "in line with the brand's heritage and DNA." It offers sleek photo and video shooting -- recently a project involving fashion photographer Nick Knight -- and a top sales service.

"Great attention to detail and a full understanding of each brand's needs are absolutely key elements to develop a successful online store," Yoox CEO Federico Marchetti said.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation in Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad</p>