report, mobile apps have fallen off the radar for the majority of fashion brands: 44 percent of the brands studied by L2 have removed their apps from the app store, while 29 percent hadn’t updated their apps in at least a year. Only 27 percent remained active.
“The mobile app is just not a place where brands across the board are investing,” said Emma Ward, senior associate at L2. “Unless there’s something the mobile web can’t offer within the app, money is better spent on a stronger mobile site experience.”
In Kering’s most recent earnings report for third quarter of financial 2017, Duplaix laid out Gucci’s plan to maintain growth momentum, including a stronger digital strategy. The brand saw revenue increase by 43 percent in the quarter, and reported that millennials now account for 55 percent of all Gucci sales. For Gucci, a top priority of Kering’s is shifting sales away from wholesale partners and to direct retail. While mobile apps take a lot more convincing to use and are typically only adopted by the most loyal customers, Gucci’s strategy is to position the mobile app to usher in direct e-commerce sales, as well as push people to visit Gucci stores.
Ward pointed out that, as Gucci has found itself in a top position for luxury brands, it’s one of the few fashion labels that can follow a “build-it-and-they-will-come” approach on mobile. Plus, since Gucci is selling so hot right now, department stores and other wholesale partners are competing for search traffic to get the sale when customers online look for Gucci items. The mobile app ensures that the brand gets the sale.
“Gucci has demonstrated how a luxury company can be relevant online,” said Jian DeLeon, editorial director at Highsnobiety. “If anyone can lure people to download and use an app right now, it’s them.”
That’s not to say Gucci is letting its mobile site lag behind. The brand has integrated features like a live-chat customer service tool on product pages, user-generated content and improved site navigation, according to L2’s report.
“We’ve achieved strong growth with no contribution from in-store markdowns, and we can’t stress the importance of e-commerce and mobile at Gucci. We’re reinvesting the brand’s profit in keeping that channel up-to-date,” said Jean-François Palus, Kering’s managing director, on a call with investors.