Bulgari Looks at Retailtainment

Lelio Gavazza, Head of Sales and Retail at Bulgari, explains the connection between brand and final consumer

  • Lelio Gavazza, Head of Sales and Retail at Bulgari

    Lelio Gavazza, Head of Sales and Retail at Bulgari

Connection between brand and end consumer. What does Bulgari focus on in terms of Gen Z and new customers?

Bulgari's focus on its customers has accelerated considerably in the post-pandemic period, prompting several business processes and redesigning new opportunities both in terms of product and sales channels. On the product side, a significant example was the launch of BB Engravable (currently only on e-commerce), through which symbols, zodiac signs and initials can be engraved, attracting a young clientele willing to buy something unique and personalized. Furthermore, social media has allowed the brand to be on IG, WeChat, Line and Kakao Talk with 3D and AR experiences. Digital has become a fundamental ally for the luxury world, especially in regard to the younger generations, now at the heart of the market. With digital, customers' behaviors and preferences can be studied and, consequently, a perfect shopping experience can be offered by working strategically with targeted marketing choices based on the value and experience that users directly gain on the social networks. Another challenge, as Bulgari in Korea has already welcomed, will be to create virtual realities that, through the metaverse, will allow customers to enjoy the product through 3D digital technologies, giving them truly unique experiences.

How do you keep interest in the product alive?

Bulgari has a very strong identity linked to the brand's DNA and Roman origins. It transmits the universe of Italian spirit for which it stands to its customers, accompanying the consumer into the world of jewelry and watches through unique experiences supported by attentive and personalized relations with our salespeople, boutiques and customer care. Personalized online itineraries, in-store experiences, but also, and above all, events through which the world of Bulgari can be experienced. Essential moments to maximize our customers’ loyalty.

What are the most strategically relevant levers for increasing sales?

Product and customer service are essential for satisfying our consumers, who, after the pandemic, will be increasingly local. Unlike the pre-pandemic period, we are now more focused on all the major global nationalities with marketing and clienteling activities to be boosted in our consumers’ countries of origin so as to maintain communication consistent throughout the world.

How much value does the physical store have in sales strategies?

In luxury, the boutique sale ritual will continue to be an important moment in relations with our customers. That is why Bulgari has decided to invest in technology inside its stores to make the experience technologically fast, with tools to support the often invisible customer. Our salespeople can assist anywhere in the store (POS in mobility) and if, for example, a ring size is not available, we can organize a shipment from another store or directly from our e-commerce stock. In many boutiques we have even set up workstations to manage live e-commerce and virtual appointments.

Let's talk about markets and attitudes to buying jewelry. Besides the online and offline numbers, do you think it is right to talk about a Retail Revolution for jewelry?

Absolutely! Nowadays, the customers who have returned to our stores after two years of pandemic are looking for "retailtainment", in other words, a unique Bulgari experience, made of excellence, lightness and fun but centered on quality of service and attention to detail. However similar in terms of attention, online sales will never be the same as the welcome and treatment experienced in a boutique. They are two different moments, often complementary, but increasingly intertwined with the aim of adding a remote sales access modality. In short, a virtual appointment with a boutique that is just a couple of clicks away...

In 2019, Bulgari presented a Dream Machine to offer a different shopping experience. Two years since, what has the shopping experience innovation become?

The pandemic has certainly sped up digital and virtual sales processes, which Bulgari has already explored and anticipated in record time. In the spring of 2020, it presented the Barocko haute joaillerie collection with the special "Barocko" app which, in addition to providing information, 360° images and content on the cultural link between the Roman company and Baroque style, actually allowed users to wear the creations virtually, thanks to "Try On", an augmented reality tool.

With the Covid crisis, your e-shop has become the number 1 store worldwide with more than 100% growth, thanks to a consistent omnichannel approach. How do you create synergy between all the various tools?

The answer lies in the objective: customer satisfaction. Whether physically in the boutique or through our website and e-commerce channel, there is no difference. All Bulgari players must focus on creating a lasting relationship, sharing the values of the brand and what makes it a worldwide Italian excellence. We can now share a lot of what revolves around the product, such as sustainability, a topic of enormous interest that allows us to talk transparently about the availability of raw materials and the manufacturing that makes the product unique.

Do social channels also help the sales of a large company like Bulgari?

Social channels have become new sales channels to be explored. We are already active on WeChat in China, Kakao Talk in Korea and Line in Japan. The social world enhances the discovery of a product and what lies behind it, but it is on the site that customers can delve deeper with a 3D experience, AR, Zoom... that is what will lead them to the final purchasing decision. We see no limits to this, only infinite opportunities.

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