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Trendsetting and productive, luxury-goods companies constantly adjudicate between artisanship and industrialization. They aim to achieve outstanding levels of quality and originality while managing increased levels of production as industrially as possible to meet the world's rising demand.
These high standards and creativity are also reflected in the distribution and sale processes of luxury products: selective distribution (networks of boutiques, corner stores) and innovative distribution (pop-up stores, micro-stores, digital systems, temporary displays related to collections or specific events, etc.), the e-commerce boom (boutiques devoted to the brand’s skills and creativity with varying levels of maturity of online business). Luxury brands continually adapt their models to meet clients’ expectations.
In this sector more than anywhere else, creators, designers, artisans and sales assistants, along with various departments (HR, IS, Purchasing, etc.), mobilize to deliver a level of quality and appeal that matches the brand's promise - and from this promise stems the customer's wish to purchase.
This quest for excellence is reflected within the companies. As in many sectors, the question of symmetry of attention (look aftr your staff, so that is looks after your clients) mush be addressed. Adjudicating between artisanship and industrial processes is an everyday task and implies management of the following dilemmas: conflict between standardization and tailor-made, high-quality spirit; conflict between industrial processes and individual expectations; conflict between internal and client deadlines.
Lastly, there are other issues the luxury-goods sector faces:
First of all, the question of skills transfers: the perpetuation of trades and training, and consequently the qualification of the sector’s professionals and craftsmen (embroiderers, lace makers, goldsmiths, etc.), raise questions about the future of luxury trades.
Moreover, the choice of production sites – in France or abroad – must take into account occupational, financial and commercial considerations (e.g. what impact does the ‘Made in France’ label have on sales?).
Increasingly strong Asian competition (along with the growing maturity and demands of the clientele and its expectations, local luxury brands, etc.) in an evolving market (impact of the anti-corruption campaign on results in China, for example) require continual adaptation.
Associated margins and profitability are also a constant concern.
Confronted by the critical problem of worldwide counterfeiting, industry players must meet the regulatory standards of highly protected products and brands.
Taking into account sustainable-development considerations is a growing trend in the industry as well, often pointed out for its neglect of the environment.
Luxury-goods companies seek excellence everywhere: in the customer relationship, the production process, the distribution channels - and this is no easy task.