Updated: Mar 9, 2021
When I first heard that LVMH had sent Anthony Ledru and Alexandre Arnault to reform Tiffany & Co., I got almost indecently excited. Good God, could Tiffany – with its rich history and progressive initiatives – really join the thin ranks of high jewellers of modern relevance?
Someone faint of heart (or of better judgement), would sit back, trusting the power duo to do all there is to do to make Tiffany all it can be. According to the media, they intend to make the brand more prestigious and less reliant on bridal products.
With that gem of an idea practically ripped out of my mouth – what (else) could Tiffany do to become the Porsche of jewellery – prestigious, but tasteful; rooted in history, but modern; immediately recognisable, but exciting; leading the industry towards a brighter future?
Make rich product information (incl. provenance) accessible to everyone
Lean into good-faith initiatives, invite consumers to join
Let in-store experience focus on relationship building
Offer flexible remote service options to minimise disengaged walk-ins
Offer a membership programme that provides access to LVMH+ & identifies patrons as philanthropists
Tiffany could supplement product details, both online and in-store, with blockchain-backed digital journeys, spanning from mines to shelves and beyond. Since Tiffany is already on the forefront of material traceability, it would mostly be a matter of managing existing information with modern technology. Commonly available, the information would further stress the brand’s laudable policies and subject-matter expertise.
Ethical & sustainable
An adjacent subject, important to 44% of luxury buyers (81% in China) – is ethical, responsible behaviour and sustainability. Again, something Tiffany has long invested in, could find consumer-facing form – whether in communications (could go paperless), in-store experience (use recycled materials, repurposed furniture) or engagement (invite customers to join the forces of good and share ownership in the sustainable future).
Tiffany could also demonstrate its supply chain beyond generic stories of artisan craftsmanship, by allowing a peek into clean factories, operated by people, receiving decent wages.
Tiffany could design physical stores for relationship-building interactions, offering disengaged customers tools to procure information and advice remotely.
It would allow the company to move away from the endless product tables, replacing some with more impactful hero displays, while repurposing the rest of the space for more comfortable and meaningful customer engagements.
Those, preferring to explore products without talking to staff, could do so online, enjoying rich product history (including block-chained provenance), inviting staff to engage as required – either via a messenger or a video platform like Hero, connecting customers with real sales assistants in the closest store.
Thus, Tiffany stores would stop trying to be all things to all people and focus on leveraging high-caliber staff to build deeper bonds through meaningful conversations rather than spend time conveying basic information. Consumers willing to engage, could come for inspiration, or with a requirement in mind, or following preliminary online search, perhaps setting a few items aside for face-to-face consultation.
A less formal retail environment would let Tiffany move away from conservative uniforms, allowing staff to choose garments (from other LVMH houses) that better reflect their personalities, looking both – elegant and more relaxed, while cross-promoting fashion brands to affluent consumers.
Again? Could I not come up with something new/better/more novel? Is this just lazy recycling of a once-good idea, thrust senselessly on each and every case that crosses my mind?
Firstly – rude! Secondly – the question is not whether (almost any) brand would benefit from having a membership programme. Membership programmes:
Increase customer loyalty through the sense of belonging.
Allow building deeper relationships and with that – deeper moats.
Increase the attention span customers have for the brand.
And finally – (often) lead to recurring and more diverse revenue.
The question, therefore, is – how to make membership worthwhile to people, who don’t care about volume discounts. With that in mind, in exchange for a monthly fee, Tiffany & Co. members could receive:
Access to LVMH+
Obviously, Tiffany & Co. membership could provide access to LVMH+ with all its benefits, including (for those, who didn’t yet ingest this marvel):
Exclusive access to limited edition products across the group
Localised digital ecosystem of lifestyle services
Curated list of experience packages, at home & abroad
As mentioned above, Tiffany supports a plethora of worthy initiatives. Members could adopt one of those and let Tiffany donate a sizeable share of their membership fees to a good cause, in exchange for progress reports and further engagement opportunities.
Finally, to spread the word and allow followers show off their philanthropic inclinations, Tiffany could produce exclusive pins, delivered to members annually. The pins would be small, unisex and updated each year, illustrating the progressively growing strength of the wearer’s commitment to charitable causes.
It sure is lovely to share wisdom, half-sitting on my exceedingly comfortable bed, away from the stress of a fast-paced transformation. Tiffany & Co. is a great brand, fuelled by thoughtful policies. A lot has changed since Audrey Hepburn peeked into those massive windows: 40% of women buy their own jewellery, people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars online, men wear pearls, second hand jewellery and grown diamonds are in vogue. It sure is an exciting time to be alive.