In the years past, the name value and the prestige of a luxury brand were enough to attract the discerning customers and clients. However, just like any other market segment, the luxury market has changed quite significantly. For starters, there are many players in this market, leading to saturation. Secondly, the customer’s mindset has changed quite significantly. The social status and the aesthetics of luxury goods are not as valued by affluent customers as they did years past.

In a saturated market, what are auto dealerships doing to differentiate from competing brands and dealerships?  Before we get into specifics, let’s take a look at the definition of the term “luxury” as it relates to consumer goods, like cars.

Unique Experiences

These factors have meant that luxury brands have had to change their understanding of luxury. They have been forced to focus on creating a differentiating experience. A unique experience is a true marking of a luxury brand; a unique experience is what keeps customers happy and loyal.

Rooting for unique experiences to differentiate your brand is not empty talk. There are market research findings to support this kind of marketing. Harris Group conducted a research in which they found out that over 72% of millennials prefer spending more of their money on experiences rather than material goods.

The premise is that with experiences you are enriched significantly more (for instance, by memories that will last you a lifetime). Additionally, experience is now considered a driver for happiness, as opposed to the fleeting joy and happiness brought about by material goods. This thinking is now transcending to other generations, thereby increasing the value of the experiences.

Car Dealerships Are Leading The Way

Leading the way in creating luxury-focused experiences for clients is the luxury auto dealerships. In the new market, it is not enough to provide customers with just donuts and coffee/tea. The top luxury car manufacturers are pulling all stops to make the purchase experience as luxurious as their product, if not more.

Dealerships are pulling all stops to keep their customers at the dealership for as long as possible, thereby engaging with the clients that much more and much better. As such, dealerships have installed mini art studios (with a car-centric theme), wine and coffee bars, a mini gym, and much more for their customers to enjoy while still in the dealership. All these amenities are designed to yield a never witnessed experience which is more appreciated by clients which makes them loyal customers.

Another strategy to create unique experience is for luxury brands to join forces to create a unique experience for their customers. A good example of this kind of strategy is the deal between Waldorf Astoria (Beverly Hills) and Aston Martin. As a provider of luxury accommodation and luxury car respectively, both brands joined forces to create a truly unique and luxurious experience. With a two night package at the hotel, guest got a chance to use Aston Martins. They could also purchase Aston Martin accessories and wearables at a pop-up shop that had been set-up in the hotel lobby.

Other Industries Are Following

Toms Shoes created a charity-oriented experience for their customers. For every Toms Shoes purchased by a customer, Tom donated a pair of shoes to a needy child. In doing this, their customers not only purchased a luxury shoe, they also experienced the joy of helping out a needy child. This one-for-one strategy proved to be very successful and they have donated over 35 million pairs of shoes. Additionally, they expanded this strategy to their eyewear line of products.

Macallan, a luxury brand in the Scotch Whisky segment, is known to produce some of the finessed single malt Scotch whiskeys. Beyond making and selling a luxury drink, they also focus on providing a unique experience for their customers. They hold private tasting events, where their customers from around the country and even the world are educated on matters of luxury Scotch Whiskies. Customers get an opportunity to enjoy the various Macallan whiskeys, learn about the company, and interact with the company staff in a more personalized manner.

Another example of a profitable partnership was the Uber and Marc Jacobs partnership. They both run a 6-hour campaign in New York, where New Yorkers could engage with Marc Jacobs Daisy brand. They could request ride from a daisy-theme Uber car and rider would receive a free gift pack. The campaign was so successful that it reached over 61 million people on social media and had 5,459 Uber ride requests.

Big Opportunities

The luxury market for car dealerships is poised to grow significantly in the coming years, with an estimated 480-million luxury clients by 2025. As such, luxury brands need to shift their focus on more than the luxury image they conjure to how best to create unique experiences for their clients and customers, if they are to succeed.