For the past seventeen years, luxury travelers have packed the Louis Vuitton City Guides whenever they left town. With 25 (and counting) international destinations, the books combine beautiful photography with recommendations for art, nightlife, culture and dining. They include insider tips, local etiquette and off-the-beaten-trail suggestions.
This week, Louis Vuitton has launched their City Guides on iOS, allowing iPhone users more than just a classier version of Frommer’s, but a personal tour guide to more than two dozen cities and 12,000 locations across the world. Customized 24-hour agendas, celebrity “hosts”, location-aware maps and the ability to connect with other travelers, are among the interactive features the app provides.
Louis Vuitton is so confident in the value they bring, that they are the only luxury brand with an app for sale in the App Store. Paris is free to download, but other cities are priced at $9.99 USD each. The guides can also be packaged with branded phone cases to round out the presentation. Add the matched LV luggage set, and the posh traveler is ready to go anywhere!
The Manufactured Mobile Moment
Recently, at a major mobile retail conference, we heard a speaker mistakenly tell the audience, “There is no reason for luxury brands to have apps. Nobody buys a five thousand dollar purse on their smartphone.” (Knowing the mobile successes of our customers like LV and Cartier, we cringed!) While she may be right about the e-commerce aspect, the value of the mobile app to a brand is usually more than just another way to sell products. Louis Vuitton uses mobile to elevate their brand and provide a very useful tool to their users. Having a Louis Vuitton-curated travel experience allows customers to feel like they are part of something elite and builds long-term loyalty.
Some industries, such as airlines and banks, have natural “mobile moments”. Alerts around gate changes or account balances are valuable enough to the user that they are motivated to keep using these apps. Those that don’t have found creative ways to engage users in order to remain top-of-mind with their audience.
Louis Vuitton is not alone here. Under Armour, a men’s undergarment manufacturer acquired the MapMyFitness app. Nivea built a child locator app and provided free bracelets in Brazilian magazines for beach-bound families. While the app was not used to sell Nivea’s skin care products, regional sales were up 62% as a result. Talk about ROI! These offerings are not meant to be transactional, and are not core to the company’s line of business; however they build brand awareness and customer loyalty, and that translates to revenue.
The Secret Sauce
Having an app alone won’t get you there. It must be intelligent. For instance, how is it that Louis Vuitton’s app knows the customer well enough to personalize their travel experience? Clearly, the app must be aware of not just context like location and time-of-day, but the users’ preferences as well.
Louis Vuitton is working with FollowAnalytics to fully realize the power and intimacy of their mobile apps. By acting as a mobile CRM, FollowAnalytics provides the deep analytics and engagement needed to personalize 1:1 communication with customers, without having to ask for log-in and personal information, enhancing the experience with their brand. Through customer segmentation and profiles, they are able to send personalized push notifications, guiding each person just like a private tour guide. Without that component, the app would be of no more interest than a smaller version of the book.
The FollowAnalytics team is very excited about this launch. The crew in our Paris office is already having fun playing tourist in their hometown with it. We’re looking forward to hearing about their various weekend excursions on Monday, and the rest of us are hoping LV releases a San Francisco guide next!GET THE WHITE PAPER
Mobile Marketing Automation:
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