The Walpole Luxury eBusiness Forum 2012 – an overview

Walpole’s seventh annual Luxury eBusiness Forum once again brought together an esteemed group of innovators and leading figures in the fields of luxury and online business. Hailing from a number of sectors and representing a wide range of international perspectives, speakers gathered at The Royal Automobile Club in October to present delegates with up-to-the-minute insight and to share their views on best practice.

Entrepreneurs, executives and creative voices alike joined the amiable debate, covering everything from the latest developments in online brand protection and anti-counterfeiting to the ever evolving landscape of ecommerce and burning issues in digital marketing -- not to mention the far-reaching impacts of cutting-edge new technologies which seem to emerge faster every day.  

The lively day-long session was presided over by Walpole deputy chairman Guy Salter who manoeuvred the forum's 10 presentations around age-old luxury themes within the context of skyrocketing digital standards and sophistication.  The scope to radically improve user experience was one of several key topics that speakers kept returning to, including Facebook's Tracy Yaverbaun and Google's Martijn Bertisen as well as founders of two successful young British luxury brands, Bec Astley Clarke and Alexandra 'Fin' Finlay.  

How luxury can become more consumer-centric and cultivate the right tone online was top of the agenda for panellist like David Hughes of Barclays, Allan DeYoung of Harrison Group, Des McSweeney of The Economist Intelligent Life and Alastair Roberts of The Royal Opera House.  Others focused on exploring the continued convergence of offline and online or pragmatic ways to optimise conversion rates.

To close the forum, a group of four astute freethinkers took to the stage including fashion filmmaker Gabriel Gettman and Justin Cooke from Topshop who reminded all those assembled that, no matter how high-tech it gets, luxury today must provide enlightening digital content in addition to inspirational products in order to become emotive enough to retain loyal client-ambassadors.

– Robb Young