Care to go truffle hunting in Alba? Interested in spinning around Lake Como in a Ferrari? (My answers: yes and yes please!). Perhaps an hour-long session on perfecting your posture, taught by a former Italian model, is more your thing. Then again, maybe you’d enjoy relaxing in a VIP Lounge, nestled in a stately villa on the famous shopping street Via Montenapoleone. For luxury retailers’ top clients, all kinds of shopping magic awaits in this VIP Lounge, which I was given a tour of as part of my consumer research during a recent business trip to Milan. For instance, a personal shopper can bring a client every red dress in their size from every store in the area, if that’s what their heart desires. Welcome to the ultimate in luxury retail, Italian style.
The name of the initiative behind all these experiences is One Luxury Destination, and it’s a new, year-old alliance between the MonteNapoleone Association (Associazione MonteNapoleone) and the consulting firm Accenture, which brings together 130 global brands and 10 five-star hotels located in and around the heart of Milan’s luxury fashion avenue, the Via Montenapoleone. Visitors planning a trip to Milan can take a virtual tour of this shopping neighborhood on the One Luxury Destination website, to map out retailers like Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, Loro Piana and dozens of others that are part of this collaboration.
Here’s how it works: each participating brand pays an annual fee to the Association that allows them to invite their best clients to join the One Luxury Destination community, which lives online through a website and a mobile app. “These brands are usually competitors, but in this case they’re allies,” says Umberto Andreozzi, Fashion & Luxury Digital Lead at Accenture. Since most visitors to Via Montenapoleone are from outside Italy, “The goal is to create a unique experience that enables clients to start the dialogue with a brand even before traveling to Milan, and to continue it during the visit and after,” says Andreozzi. Accenture also provides the analytics that help the Association monitor progress against goals.
“The individuals who are visiting MonteNapoleone are global travelers,” says Guglielmo Miani, President of the MonteNapoleone Association and CEO & President of Larusmiani, the oldest luxury clothing and tailoring brand on Via Montenapoleone. “They are always looking for the coolest and best experiences in the world. They don’t want to be bored.”
Retailers provide these experiences to select clients, at their discretion. And if you’re wondering, do these activities actually drive sales? The answer appears to be yes. The initiative just completed its inaugural year, and MonteNapoleone sales have increased 21%, according to Miani. The program offers both physical and digital experiences including:
The MonteNapoleone VIP Lounge. Housed in a villa on Via Montenapoleone, the Association regards this lounge as the first of its kind. Operating on an invitation-only basis, it offers a 24-hour concierge service, personal shoppers, private dressing rooms, lounge areas and refreshments, free baggage transfer to the airport, airport check-in for extra baggage, a butler at the airport as well as processing of VAT tax refunds, so clients don’t have to stand in line at the airport.
An online personal concierge service for clients that handles requests such as dinner reservations at high-end restaurants, hotel reservations, tours, and activities such as concerts, fashion shows, car races and opera tickets as well as access to palaces and museums exclusively for VIP Lounge guests.
A website at OneLuxuryDestination.com that features a boutique and hotel locator, current events, fashion trends and news from the MonteNapoleone Association brands.
The M Luxury App which allows users to connect with surrounding retailers through location-enabled Beacon Technology. Based on a client’s location and preferences, shoppers will be informed of relevant retail events and cultural experiences happening around them, like the opportunity to witness a watch expert set the movement of a timepiece, or learn to how a jacket is made by hand.
Through technology and collaboration, the MonteNapoleone Association provides a fascinating case study of retailers blending the physical and the digital to provide loyalty-building experiences.
Article originally published on Forbes.com