Receive the latest articles for free. Click here to get the Luxury Daily newsletters.
Harrolds turns off digital ads in favor of traditional marketingBy Rachel Lamb
Australian-owned luxury men’s department store Harrolds has just undergone a 1,000-square-foot renovation of its Melbourne store and has chosen to promote itself through traditional media such as word of mouth and direct mail.
The owners insist that the brands that Harrolds houses, such as Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Tom Ford and Paul Smith, should only be experienced in-person. The retailer does not have a mobile or Web site and relies on recommendation from customers, mailers and a bi-annual catalog to promote itself.
“In the tactile nature of our business, I find that with classical, beautiful brands and high-fashion designers, the design world lacks integrity and quality,” said Theo Poulakis, co-owner of Harrolds, Melbourne.
“We work with houses that have a beautiful reputation with great production and design reputations,” he said. “This is because we share the same values as these brands and feel comfortable giving them a home and letting people touch and feel and experience them in-person.”
There are only two Harrolds’ in the world – the newly remodeled Melbourne location and a Sydney outpost.
Melbourne initially had four Harrolds locations, but they were combined to make this large superstore.
The new Harrolds location is approximately 2,820 square feet and located in the “luxury village” in Melbourne, comparable to Fifth Avenue in New York, Mr. Poulakis said.
The retailer has many different rooms whose themes reflect the brands that are inside of them.
For instance, the room housing tailored clothing by Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood lends a New York-y vibe.
Harrolds is the exclusive Austrialian men’s retailer of Vivienne Westwood, Tom Ford, Raf Simons and Yves Saint Laurent, among others.
In addition to the famous luxury brands housed inside it, bespoke shoe and garment retailers are in-house who can alter or design clothes and shoes at the request of the customers.
Harrolds also has a full bar and smoking room for the ultimate luxury experience.
The bar at Harrolds
“A lot of new-age luxury consumers want to buy luxury brands just for the purpose of having something with a name on it,” Mr. Poulakis said.
“Our customers are a little more savvy, a little more educated and sophisticated and are more aware and appreciative of what real luxury actually is,” he said.
BC, not AD
Even though luxury brands have been reluctant to move into digital and mobile, they mostly have.
Other department stores around the world such as Harrods, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom participate in traditional methods such as impeccable customer service, catalogs and mailers, but still have Web sites, mobile sites and mobile applications available to their customers.
There have been reports that say that mobile and digital are at their peak for customer engagement.
Mobile is becoming increasingly important to consumers. In fact, some experts believe that mobile commerce will be up $50 billion by 2014 (see story).
Moveover, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse reported a 16.1 percent increase in ecommerce in March 2011 (see story).
Instead, Harrolds shut down its Web site. It removed itself from Twitter, Facebook and all types of digital media. The only way that customers can shop the retailer is at the actual store.
“We don’t want any of that noise, I actually have a distaste for the Web,” Mr. Poulakis said. “We have been busy since the moment we opened, so we’ve never had a problem there.
“We’re in a tactile business and we are trying to work on encompassing as many senses as we can,” he said. “We’re still human, we want to touch and feel and smell the things that we buy, and our customers are curious about things like that.
“The noise that’s been created by the Web and other media is drowning out everything else. We wanted our own little enclave, our paradise, and that’s what we’re offering here.”
Harrolds turns their back on mobile, social and the Web
Like this article? Sign up for a free subscription to Luxury Daily's must-read newsletters. Click here!
Related content: None Found leave a response, or trackback from your own site.