Steve Buck, MD of Barbour, says online shopping should be as special and personalised for customers as the in-store experience

Buck shares his insights in the Tempus British Luxury Review 2020

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* Barbour International Womenswear

2020 has been a year of new challenges but the future is bright for lovers of luxury. In our first ever British Luxury Review, Tempus asks experts from 12 of the UK’s most prestigious brands to shed some light on a year of seismic change and, in doing so, discovers a luxury landscape more focused on meaningful storytelling and fine craftsmanship than ever before. Here, Steve, MD of Barbour, tells us why it has become so important to uplift the digital shopping experience…

What are luxury consumers looking for right now? 
“In these uncertain times, I think that luxury consumers are looking for brands that they can trust, brands that always deliver and the consumer knows exactly what to expect. Barbour has a 126-year-old heritage, and we are proud of our reputation for delivering high quality premium apparel and footwear that is fit for purpose. 

Our consumers always demand the highest standards and exceptional customer service. With more people spending time at home, whether it’s for work or leisure, we are seeing a trend towards more casual, relaxed clothing with no compromise on quality. Consumers are also turning to online retail and a seamless digital experience is essential as shopping on the web needs to be just as special as it would be if they were shopping in store with us.

Luxury brands or products are those that have a value to consumers lifestyles; they have an emotional connection to them because those brands or products are personally relevant and reflect the consumers own life aspirations and experiences.

Has sustainability become more important in 2020?
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to consumers as they become more aware than ever that everyone needs to play their part in being environmentally responsible. Shopping purchases are becoming more considered and customers are moving away from fast fashion to timeless, investment pieces that will last a long time. 

Barbour has a unique proposition in that our wax jackets are made to last – if they are re-waxed at least once a year, their life will be extended for a long time and we find that many of our Barbour jackets are passed down by families from generation to generation.

What have been the biggest challenges of 2020?
2020 has been an unprecedented year and has brought many challenges. Covid-19 has undoubtedly been the biggest of these and has resulted in many changes not just in the retail and manufacturing sector but across all industries.  

It has been a year of adapting to a ‘new normal.’  Business strategies and forecasts have had to be revised to reflect the changes in customers buying habits.

As a global retailer, Brexit will also be a challenge and again we are preparing our business for the changes ahead.  My hopes for 2021 are that the Covid-19 vaccines will work and that there will be an upturn in the economy after all the uncertainly of 2020.

Read more from Britain’s luxury brands in Tempus Magazine issue 71, out now

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* Barbour Gold Standard