Burberry to put mobile first in mix

Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts says the high-end fashion brand plans to make its marketing mobile first and ensure all its physical activity across the business is mobile-connected.


Speaking to Salesforce’s chairman and CEO Mark Benioff at his company’s Dreamforce event in San Francisco, Ahrendts said the company is “going the way of Minority report” by embedding mobile across its retail stores and marketing and sales activity.

As an example of this, Burberry is set to launch a new watch next month, which will first appear on mobile rather than traditional media or even other digital marketing platforms.

The company also launched its flagship “store of the future” on London’s Regent Street earlier this month, which features technology such as RFID tags in its clothing and accessories so a customer trying on a garment can view more information about where the garment was made or how it was designed when they try it on and look in the mirror.

Ahrendts revealed Burberry is also looking into sensor technology that would help customer service assistants identify who a customer is as they walk in to a store. The technology would pick up on details available on those consumers’ mobiles, through an app or from publicly available social networking data.

The new technology is set to launch in Spring.

She said: “The onus is on us to change everything we do to keep pace with where society is moving…I have three teens and this [mobile] device is never out of their hands. They don’t call on it, they don’t wear a watch; the behavior has totally changed…this is changing the world…everything physical we do has to be hooked up to [mobile], that is our vision.”

Last year Burberry shifted focus to dedicate 60 per cent of its marketing spend to digital, rather than spending the majority of marketing spend on glossy magazine ads and TV campaigns.

Burberry’s share price suffered its biggest ever decline last week after the company warned full year profit would fall under analysts’ estimates as global sales have slowed across the business.

In a statement, Ahrendts said at the time that the disappointing results were due to the economic environment becoming “more challenging”, particularly in Europe but also because of a decline in growth in China, which is one of Burberry’s most lucrative markets.

She insisted, in an interview with the American press after the announcement, that the company would not change strategies in spite of the challenging conditions.