The fine watchmaking industry was quite reluctant towards the rise in the NITC’s as the internet is the symbol of mass consumption, which is in contradiction with the common following value luxury watch brands are sharing: exclusivity, scarcity, and the protection of tradition.
However, as today the web is considered as the main tool to keep contact with consumers, a major part of fine watchmaking brands has created their website, and are present on social networks in order to follow the sociocultural evolutions. Cartier has even created an online store and Piaget launched a mobile application to get closer to the consumer.
Luxury watch companies are thus focusing on developing an online marketing strategy. Indeed, in order to develop the same experience quality online as offline, they should create an excellent sensory and emotional brand experience online. According to Okonkwo, that aims at replicating the “luxosphere” consumers can find in store to make them feel included and valued. For that, four key elements are required on their websites: a sophisticated visual, a musical background, the cognitive aspect (which refers to the brands’ values, codes and universe), and an interactive component.
In general, luxury watch brands try to implement the first three ones, but the participatory aspect often remains overlooked. In 2010, Tissot conceived its Reality Application, which enabled consumers to virtually try its collection. Breitling tried to set up online a virtual plane racing game.
For me, developing the sensory and emotional experience online is indeed essential for fine watchmaking brands, but many of their websites highlight a significant lack of innovations, are still too traditional and stress on content especially.