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Top 10 luxury brand mobile apps of the year

December 31, 2013


In 2013, mobile applications were used by luxury brands as learning tools with elements of entertainment that both increased consumer knowledge and awareness of products and services.

Apps that mimicked the in-store experience were seen in many mobile initiatives launched over the course of the year, such as animated print campaigns, virtual test drives or digitally envisioned outfits. As consumer trends continue the shift toward mobile, this emphasis on blurring boundaries will remain an important factor in apps developed in the year to come.

Here are the top 10 luxury mobile apps of 2013, in alphabetical order:

Bang & Olufsen - Danish audio and video company Bang & Olufsen continued to promote its B&O Play line of audio players and headphones with its “Sensory Spaces” mobile application that engages consumers with an exploratory use of sound.

Bang & Olufsen created the app in collaboration with the Danish alternative rock band, Mew. The audio and video company is likely to gain younger fans through its connection with the popular Danish band.

Sensory Spaces is a game that creates sound localization challenges with three different sensory levels. Each level, called “Sound Spaces” has the user maneuver their mobile device to locate the sound.

The user chooses clues such as intensity, spectral and timing to locate the source of the sound. When the user moves the device in the wrong direction, the sound weakens to signal to the user that she is not on target.

Chopard - Swiss jeweler Chopard celebrated the anniversary of its Happy Sport watch through a mobile app that lets consumers personalize their own timepiece and explore other custom creations.

The “My Happy Sport” app gives users complete control of every piece of their watch. By providing the personalization technology, the app aims to inspire consumers to purchase their own custom watch from the watchmaker, but does not include commerce.

With the option to design one from scratch, the app takes users through a variety of different steps to customize every aspect of their watch.

Also, the app asks consumers to enter their contact information and gives them a unique code to be able to access their design after all of the personalization steps are complete.

De Beers - Jeweler De Beers unveiled an in-store iPad application that helps consumers create a customized engagement ring to promote its bespoke options.

The “For You, Forever” app was designed in collaboration with mobile specialist Somo and allows consumers to compare diamonds and settings while shopping for the perfect engagement ring. The app will likely create stronger ties between customers and De Beers associates, which may result in repeat visits.

De Beers’ For You, Forever in-store service and accompanying app aids consumers in hand-selecting the features on their engagement ring.

With the help of a De Beers sales associate, the consumer uses the app to select specific elements of the ring such as setting and diamond shape. All diamonds featured in the app are selected by The De Beers Institute of Diamonds to ensure quality.

Harrods - London department store Harrods used its iPad magazine application to mimic an in-store makeup trial to strengthen mobile commerce beauty sales.

Found in the December/January 2014 issue of Harrods’ magazine app, the interactive “Makeup Studio” featured four high-end beauty lines carried by the retailer. Interactive digital content that allows consumers to “try on” a product or see how an item works mirrors the in-store experience and empowers consumers with a better understanding of products.

Once the user has selected the appropriate skin tone and brand, a new page automatically loads. The new page displays the model’s face without makeup, with three tabs that read: skin, eyes and lips.

To test out a blush or bronzer the consumer selects a color from the season’s collection and drags a finger across the cheekbone of the model to make the product appear. The same is done for eyeshadows, eyeliners, mascaras and lip color for each featured brand.

Land Rover - Land Rover North America promoted its next-generation Range Rover model features and driving capabilities through an interactive mobile app.

The “Range Rover: The Trail Less Traveled” app gives consumers the chance to virtually experience riding in the vehicle in a variety of different settings and viewpoints. Land Rover is likely aiming for aspirational owners rather than its customers with this app since it mainly shows off what the model can do.

The app gives users a full inside and outside look at the new Range Rover through eight different stages and four camera views, which show off the vehicles capabilities.

App users can choose their perspective, soundtrack and stage on which to drive the Range Rover.

The stages take users through interactive video courses that include winding roads, rough terrain, water, climbing up and down hills and an elegant arrival.

Louis Vuitton - French fashion house Louis Vuitton layered its print campaigns with a new mobile application that brought together exclusive advertising content and mobile commerce.

Louis Vuitton’s Pass app allows consumers to experience ads in new ways with behind-the-scenes content, featured product information and a store locator. The interactive elements of Louis Vuitton’s Pass app engages consumers by curating a personal experience that fleshes out familiar ads.

Instead of disrupting the aesthetics of an ad campaign with a boxy QR code, Louis Vuitton will now include a branded icon that can be scanned by its new mobile app, Pass. By scanning the icon or the entire image from a particular campaign, the app directs users to exclusive photos, video and the mobile commerce page that details of the merchandise featured in the scanned effort.

This ability goes beyond just print advertisements to truly bring the Louis Vuitton world directly to consumers no matter their location or activity. For example, the app can be used on Louis Vuitton’s Facebook cover image of the new “L’Invitiation au Voyage Venice” campaign.

Magellan Jets - Private aviation provider Magellan Jets eyed millionaires through a partnership with iVIP’s luxury lifestyle app suite to offer exclusive benefits to high-net-worth users.

There are four levels in iVIP’s app membership including iVIP Black for certified millionaires. Magellan is offering extras for consumers at each level – Black, Blue, City and Red – to raise awareness of its services to wealthy and aspirational consumers.

Users of the iVIP app can geo-locate venues and services to receive gifts, welcome packages, room upgrades, exclusive rates, priority access and more.

Black membership is the highest level in the app suite and is reserved for high-net-worth consumers who can certify that they have assets or income of more than £1 million, or approximately $1.5 million. Consumers can download the iVIP Black app for $999.99 in the App Store.

IVIP Blue and City members can get complimentary on-board catering and ground transportation.

Consumers can download the iVIP Blue app for $149.99 in the App Store. Consumers in London, St. Petersburg and New York can download the respective iVIP City apps for $149.99 to get special offers at handpicked venues.

Net-A-Porter - Online retailer Net-A-Porter looked to increase engagement among brand enthusiasts and tech-savvy consumers through The Netbook, a new invite-only social network application available for Apple devices.

Resembling a diary, The Netbook is free for download from the iTunes store, allowing users to follow friends and fashion trendsetters and share their favorite looks and pieces curated by Net-A-Porter. Creating a sense of community among brand enthusiasts will likely benefit the retailer as it continues to grow.

A black snakeskin book appears when The Netbook app is launched. On initial download, users make a profile with a detailed overview of their sense of style and favored apparel and accessories brands.

Users can choose to follow or “admire” other Netbook users as a way to create a community of fellow brand enthusiasts with a similar sense of style. The homepage has four options for users to explore.

A “Global Feed” function gives users access to fashion news and “Admiring Feed” shows users what the people they admire love.

Saks Fifth Avenue - Saks Fifth Avenue is empowering consumers with the ability to digitally put together outfits on specific body types by joining up with a fashion-centric iPad application.

The app created by Stylewhile aggregates product images from participating retailers such as Diane Von Furstenberg and allows consumers to see how outfits look on an avatar with a similar body type. Since consumers will have an idea about how items mesh or clash before making a purchase, the app will likely reduce the amount of returns.

Users can browse multiple brands available at Saks when first opening the app. Once a brand is selected, an array of products are displayed vertically alongside a model. Users then select between small, medium and large to determine the body type of the model. Next, users drag desired products over to the model to craft a look. Prices and availability are listed under products.

Recent outfits designed by users are stored near the model for future access. If consumers are pleased with an outfit, they can proceed to purchase the products from Saks ecommerce Web site.

Vacheron Constantin - Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin paired brand history with horology education in a new mobile application that delves into its latest watch.

Vacheron’s “The Sound of Time” app for iPhone combines interactive gaming elements with educational materials and a video dedicated to its latest watch the Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731. Watchmakers that create apps capable of detailing watch movements foster a connection with consumers that resembles an in-store tutorial.

The app’s introduction page has a game-like element for consumers to enjoy. When the app is opened for the first time it teaches the consumer the intervals and tones of the watches’ hours, quarters and minute chimes.

This fun, yet educational, feature will help consumers who have bought the timepiece better understand the sounds of their watch. A similar function is found under “discover the new model” where consumers can set the watch to certain times to experience time-specific chimes.

Final Take
Jen King, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York