In today’s interconnected world, customers are increasingly aware of social, cultural, and ethical issues, leading to a significant transformation in their purchasing behavior. Although diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE+I) has been at the forefront of discussion over the past three years, luxury retailers have lacked significant progress in this space, from representation in the workplace to representation in products and marketing. While maintaining the characterization of rare, excellent craftsmanship and a widely renowned brand image is a primary element of the luxury retail industry, retailers must still implement changes throughout every level of their company to also meet socially conscious customers’ demands. However, customers may view minor efforts by luxury retailers to incorporate inclusivity into their operations as merely performative. For changes in diversity and equity to be meaningful, DE+I must be advanced through all levels of luxury companies, from hiring to product modeling. Bringing diverse voices into luxury brands can translate into increased inclusion through all aspects of company operations and unlock a larger customer base that would have otherwise been ignored. Luxury retailers must stay on pace with the growing demand for DE+I to meet shifting customer demands for inclusivity and equity. View our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Luxury Retail eBook for the full story on this topic.
The Rise of the Socially Conscious/Aware Customer
Brands can no longer ignore DE+I as the population of socially conscious customers, as well as social media users, grows. Straying from embracing diversity, enforcing equitable processes, and creating a culture of inclusivity can have negative consequences for luxury brand reputations and profits – and we’ve seen this happen before. Customers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, have taken advantage of social media platforms to label brands as exclusive, which can directly affect a company’s reputation and profit. The expanding customer consciousness is hyperaware of products and company practices that don’t encourage inclusivity, which can generate a significant volume of negative responses.
Implementing Diversity, Equity + Inclusion in Luxury Retail
It’s important for luxury retailers to take active efforts to incorporate inclusivity into both their internal and external practices. Here’s how they can begin to do so, and download the free eBook to read more on each of the below focus areas:
- Starting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in the Workplace
- Ensuring Underrepresented Voices are Heard and Involved in Decision-Making
- Retaining Loyal Customers and Capturing New Markets
Enacting Meaningful Change for in Luxury Retail
Both brand reputation and profit can benefit from practicing DE+I in and outside of the workplace. Implementation of inclusivity is a long-term investment that can accelerate company growth, and not keeping up with the growing demand for equitable business choices can have severe consequences. On the other hand, meeting customer expectations doesn’t necessitate hindering the exclusive nature of luxury goods that drives product demand. Higher price points and an unparalleled shopping experience can continue to maintain brand status, but marketing and representation, both within and outside of the company, must be inclusive to align with the equity-minded customer. To learn more about how to implement inclusivity into your workplace and company image, connect with one of our retail or DE+I experts today.
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Contributions from Sam Weitzel