The definition of application, as described by the Oxford dictionary, is ‘practical use or relevance’. When a brand launches an mobile application, it should always benefit the end user and therefore the brand. In 2008, for obvious economics reasons, luxury brands like D&G, Chanel and Hugo Boss, where forced away from their traditional way of advertising and had to look at other possibilities.
2009 was the year that, nearly all high end fashion brands launched their own mobile application. It was an obvious choice for these brands to go in this direction.
The iPhone made mobile applications possibly and was, at that time, mainly used by early adopters and high-end customers. Both groups are a very interesting target audience for luxury brands. Chanel was the first to jump into this adventure by launching their ‘app’ in June 2008. Soon other high fashion brands followed Chanel’s example and app’s seem to pop up like mushrooms.
The launched app’s have a couple of aspects in common. They are all free of charge, they have a store locator and show their latest collections. Only a few brands have thought about the relevance and practical use for the customer.
Hugo Boss helps its customers with a color matching issues. You make a photo of the item you want to where, and Hugo Boss gives you several options of colors that go well with it.
Another good example is the app DKNY made when they introduced the DKNY Cozy. The DKNY Cozy is a sweater that can be worn in 21 different ways. The app shows all 21 ways, in three simple steps.
But the luxury brands need to step up their game. Now that more phones can download applications, the market has grown and the expectations of their users with it. Especially the expectations of the early adopters and the high end customers, in other words, their target audiences. It’s time for the high fashion brands to regroup and think of the practical use of their application for the customer. Maybe Prada will also launch an app.