In China, luxury brands are beginning to open up VIP member rooms to the public in an effort to boost brand loyalty throughout the nation.
So far, French luxury brands Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel have launched VIP member rooms on the third floor of Beijing SKP, the luxury shopping centre with the highest sales in the country.
In Dior’s VIP salon, customers can directly buy one-of-a-kind leather handbags and furniture pieces not found in regular stores. Moreover, they can handpick and tailor haute couture clothing. Louis Vuitton’s VIP rooms offers similar serves, with an added afternoon tea service.
The move comes as a response to cut-throat competition in the entire Chinese luxury goods market, as well as the pandemic-induced widening income gap repressing luxury consumption among the middle class. Currently, the luxury market in China is keen on holding on to middle class shoppers hungry for luxury products and experiences.
Traditionally, VIP clients were defined as someone who enjoyed “privileged access”. Nowadays, however, luxury brands are aiming to turn every customer into a VIP. This, therefore, has driven high-end brands to kick their services up a notch for even more high-profile figures – VVIPs. At present, luxury brands will go as far as hosting small catwalk events to showcase their latest collections to invite-only guests.
All things considered, as luxury brands move in the direction of the mainstream consumer, they will need to differentiate their VIP offerings across the several echelons of social status if they wish to continue to woo big spenders. What will inevitably ensue, therefore, will be a balancing act between availability and exclusivity in the luxury market.