When it comes to top luxury brands, digital strategy has found a champion in Burberry. When Angela Ahrendts took over as Burberry CEO in 2006, the Burberry brand was underperforming and out of touch. Since then, the company has embarked upon a remarkable transformation to completely revamp its business model to thrive in today’s digital age. Burberry has delivered on this new digitally-focused business model in two key ways: (1) by going all-in on social media and mobile marketing and (2) by creating a model for the ultimate in-store digital experience.
But wait, why is digital so important?
Many brands that rely on a personal, physical experience have struggled to translate that “feeling” to a digital presence. It is necessary for brands to connect with customers in a shareable and digital way: 84% of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip, 22% of consumers spend more as a result of using digital, and 75% of consumer shopping behaviors are influenced by social media . Burberry has modified its business model to capture value via digital transformation leading to increased customer acquisition and in doing so has revamped its operating model by focusing on millennials (most of the corporate staff in the London corporate headquarters are under the age of 30) .
Digital Media as a tool
Shortly after 2006, Burberry was one of the first luxury brand retailers to pursue digital as a core strategy by meaningfully integrating social media use into its marketing and products. In 2009, Burberry was the first of the major fashion houses to launch its own social networking site, The Art of the Trench, which was a site which provided a public space for Burberry trench coat enthusiasts to post images of themselves wearing the garment . This was a bold move because the Burberry trench coat is the brand’s most iconic product and has a true legacy. The site allowed for users to like, comment, share, and learn about the trench coat and related trends and was dubbed as a “digital democracy,” being for the customers, by the customers . The site is both modern and sophisticated and is easily accessible on all digital platforms including desktop, mobile, and tablet . Additionally, in 2011, Burberry used Instagram and Twitter to reveal its 2012 lineup and became the first luxury brand to sell through Twitter’s “Buy Now” program . This innovative use of digital interactivity has propelled the brand to new heights in terms of prestige (17 million Facebook likes and 5.3 million Instagram followers ) and financial reward as revenues grew impressively from £1.5 billion in 2011 to £2.5 billion in 2015 .
In-store digital experience
In 2012, Burberry opened a sleek new flagship store in London’s Regent district. The new location provided a state-of-the-art digital experience no customer has ever experienced to “blur the lines between digital and physical shopping experiences.”  Upon walking in the store, the customer is meant to feel as if he or she is walking into the company’s website. The store includes digital signage screens on floors and wrapped around the walls, live-streaming hubs and mirrors. The screens display models walking along catwalks from Burberry shows. Customers can also use their phones to identify items to save to their online checkout account to purchase a style online that is available in the store . Additionally, the store employs an innovative use of RFID chips so that when a customer picks up a certain item, a video of the item (such as a model on a runway or how the item is made) will play on a nearby screen . Finally, all store employees are equipped with iPads which include a database of customer purchase history and preferences to create a more unique customer shopping experience . By seamlessly merging the online shopper experience with innovative digital technology, the flagship store offers an unparalleled customer experience thereby elevating the Burberry brand amongst its peers.
Going forward, Burberry should continue to raise the bar in terms of digital strategy in order to maintain its millennial brand image. As Burberry’s explosive growth from its digital/eCommerce platform plateaus (its digital commerce revenue grew 22% in FY 2016, not quite as explosive as the 30% growth experienced in the prior year ), the brand must continue to innovate and grow its digital presence. One particular step to take could be to further integrate the brand into specific social media platforms such as Snapchat – for instance by creating a Snapchat filter showing the user in Burberry clothes on a catwalk. As other competing brands continue to “catch up” to Burberry when using digital technology, it is up to the company to build upon its innovate and millennial-focused image.
Word Count: 789
 Yousef Khan, “HOW BURBERRY EMBRACED DIGITAL AND TRANSFORMED INTO A LEADING LUXURY BRAND,” Centric Digital blog, November 9, 2015, [https://centricdigital.com/blog/digital-strategy/digital-transformation-in-traditional-fashion-burberry/], accessed November 2016.
 Angela Ahrendts, “Burberry’s CEO on Turning an Aging British Icon into a Global Luxury Brand,” Harvard Business Review, January 2013, [https://hbr.org/2013/01/burberrys-ceo-on-turning-an-aging-british-icon-into-a-global-luxury-brand], accessed November 2016.
 Amy Bruining, “A Look at How a Luxury Brand Reinvented Itself and Took the Lead in Today’s Digital World,” Britton Marketing Group blog, January 2016, [http://www.brittonmdg.com/the-britton-blog/burberry-leader-in-digital-social-media-case-study], accessed November 2016.
 Burberry, FY 2016 Annual Report, p. 21, [http://www.burberryplc.com/documents/ar-15-16/burberry_review_2015_16.pdf], accessed November 2016.
 Scott Davis, “Burberry’s Blurred Lines: The Integrated Customer Experience,” Forbes blog, March 2014, [http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottdavis/2014/03/27/burberrys-blurred-lines-the-integrated-customer-experience/#5a8c954722fc], accessed November 2016.