Watch brands have been notoriously slow to adapt to the digital age, but in 2018 many have begun to focus on e-commerce platforms and experiential retail to lure in consumers. Now LMVH-owned Hublot, a Swiss watch brand that prides itself on being anything but traditional, has developed a new digital technology platform for its Fifth Avenue boutique in New York City that it hopes will be a game changer. Developed in partnership with independent strategy, creative, and technology agency B-Reel, the new platform allows customers to communicate in real time with Hublot sales managers for a full 360-degree experience without ever having to physically step foot into the boutique.
“For the customer it’s a FaceTime or Skype call, but the experience is so much richer,” says Jesper Kling, managing director of B-Reel. “It’s what we built behind it that is special in this case and its part hardware and part software. What we have is the possibility to demonstrate the products physically in detail live, combined with 3D assets and film and other media and share it directly. We can create an experience around the watches that you are looking for in a very tailored consultation.”
What’s it actually look like? Suppose a client is choosing between three different watches and needs a walkthrough of each timepiece. The client can simply schedule an appointment with the Fifth Avenue boutique via Skype or FaceTime, and a sales person will prepare all of the material in advance. That includes videos that break down the movement piece by piece, technical specs, and more. Clients end up getting a fully immersive overview, and they don’t have to spend any extra time researching the product themselves. The high-resolution camera allows the sales person to show the client all angles of the watch in real time.
“It gives you a real experience that’s more dedicated,” says Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. “The technology is super sophisticated. It took us two years to create it and it allows you to have a much better experience. The idea is to really have the boutique experience through digital.”
Whether a client is on a plane, in a lounge, or tied up in the office, the new technology takes digital shopping to the next level. Guadalupe says they have plans to take the technology to their Swiss factory this year, so true Hublot watch enthusiasts can have the ultimate virtual experience with the watches direct from their source and a digital boutique experience is planned to launch in Asia as well.