Ralph Lauren; an early advocate of new technologyFriday, 20 January 2012
Ralph Lauren has long been recognised as an early advocate of our new digital boom, embracing new technologies and new ways of displaying and retailing luxury goods. Speaking at NRF 101st Annual Convention & Expo in New York David Lauren,
executive vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications, highlighted a catalogue of pioneering technology initiatives that began with it opening a store online more than a decade ago.
“The truth is years ago people thought it would fail and cannibalise store sales. But we fought to tell them that it would be good because online provides endless space, and so we’d be able to tell our story and sell products. We continued to invest when the dotcom bubble was bursting and people were saying why not just open another outlet,” he explained.
Lori Mitchell-Keller of SAP, agreed Ralph Lauren had swum against the tide of opinion: “Eleven years ago when they set up their website many companies wondered whether luxury would work online. They used it to unleash the brand and people who thought there were issues of brand destruction and exclusivity were proved wrong. Ralph Lauren has used technology to break the rules and take down the barriers.”
Ideas the brand initiated, which have now become mainstream, include the Style Guides and RL magazine they placed online, and the mix of entertainment and merchandising they hailed.
At its Madison Avenue store in New York the company created the first 24-hour shopping window. A touchscreen window enabled passers-by to purchase products even when the store was closed. Next up were QR codes added onto advertisements after Lauren had seen them in use in Japan. “It was commonplace in Japan. Within two months of our using them, the US Army and many brands followed. But it was pioneering at the time.”
The Retail Bulletin’s Multichannel retailing summit 2012 takes place on February 1st in London, which will focus on ‘Driving ROI through profitable, engaging, seamlessly integrated and consistent multichannel strategies.’