May 17, 2017
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Panel calls for luxury labels to keep pace with technology

May 17, 2017

A panel led by Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza discussed the challenges luxury brands will face to keep up with changing norms. Most notably, luxury retail will need to adapt itself to a more informed customer base, and a growing move towards artificial intelligence.

Louis Vuitton

Executives from major luxury sectors, such as retailers and hotels, attended the panel in New York City. There, Pedraza cited an Oxford study that showed that more than half of all retail jobs could be replaced by robots within 20 years. Nonetheless, panelists emphasized that artificial intelligence will not replace the need for emotionally intelligent human labor.  
“The key will be for each business to find the combination of tech enhancements that better the tools for their teams and the experience for their consumer,” said panelist Leslie Ghize, executive vice president at TOBE.

One area that already combines the need for emotional intelligence along with new technology is the use of social media. “One has to remember that companies who are winning in digital are doing so through social media, social being the key word. We are intrinsically social beings and that spark of humanity won't be replicated by robotics, although we will use A.I. to alleviate monotony and to help us optimize our goals,” said panelist Caden Stobart, chief marketing officer at Carlisle Etcetera.
The panel also noted that as technology replaces certain operational positions, relationship-building skills will be more important than ever. Those who are not able to master skills like empathy, creativity and collaboration, will fall behind in the workforce.
“The beautiful paradox of the 21st century is that the intense proliferation of artificial intelligence will only inspire customers to desire, even crave, human interaction far more than ever before. Companies and educational institutions must prepare to scale humanity in ways we have never imagined,” Pedraza concluded.
Ultimately, the luxury panelists concluded that the retail sector needs a reinvention. With consumers more educated and informed than ever and technologies changing at a rapid pace, the retailers will have to change their models to keep up. 

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