Exploring eCommerce for the Luxury Market
Even though luxury brands tend to prioritise their in-store experiences over digital ones, in the last 3 years they had to start or rethink representing themselves online - it happened mostly due to the COVID Pandemic and the rise of digital native Millenials and Gen Z.
Since luxury brands main goal is to stay exclusive, they can’t use regular eCommerce strategies when both visual design and marketing messages invite everyone to make a purchase. Restricted availability (mainly through high prices) is what makes a brand “luxury”. Some brands also limit the supply, and make products available only by invitation - a good example of this is Hermès Birkin bag.
Luxury eCommerce is different
The main goal for most eCommerce websites is to allow customers to buy products easily and quickly, a luxury segment requires the opposite. The unwritten intention behind is almost to make customers work hard to acquire a luxury item (e.g., by searching or waiting for it), and then they’ll value that item more.
Online luxury shopping can be very frustrating: In-store shopping is highly personalised, but this is usually not the case with online luxury shopping. Offline store staff will gladly answer questions about product details, but luxury online stores tend to only show very little information.
According to NN Group research, there are 4 types of people who shop for luxury goods:
- Professional stylists
- Window shoppers
- Occasional splurgers
- Big spenders
Of course people can move from one category to another - for example, while being a student, a person might be just a window shopper, but once becoming a working middle class, they may turn into occasional splurger.
User journey should be satisfying
The user journey of luxury-segment eCommerce differs from a regular one. Regular eCommerce users can make purchasing decisions almost immediately, the luxury shopper user journey includes a consideration process that can last for months. Users can discover products on the website, but then go to a physical store to try things on and then eventually buy them - so in luxury eCommerce product viewing without adding to a cart is still important - especially when users go to see the same product more than once.
However, there are few things we have to consider if we strive for satisfying user journey:
- Poor loading performance makes any brand look cheap and somewhat irresponsible;
- Categories and product names should be clear and easy to search for;
- There should be at least 3 photos of each product to give a correct understanding of its size, colour and shape;
- Each product has to have measurements and size description;
- Terminology should be clear from jargon, abbreviations, etc. and unified throughout the website to avoid any confusion;
- When products are sold internationally (as is often the case for luxury ones), it’s important to have a professional translator to avoid typos;
- Good to have: tips on how to style product.
Things that matter for luxury shoppers
Even though high-end brands quite often don’t show their prices online, we would recommend to at least provide a price range, when possible. Having wealth doesn’t always mean that there will be no budget planning. People may want to buy a €20,000 bag and they won’t be interested in one that costs €60,000.
If your brand makes the world a better place in any way, let customers know. In any eCommerce customers are loyal to brands that share their values, and more so luxury customers. There’s an element of guilt sometimes attached to buying luxury goods — because a lot of people can’t afford them. If buying a luxury product contributes to charity, it releases the guilt.
Also, we recommend sharing brand history and values throughout the website - and not only on the About us page.
Combine online and offline
Product enquiry forms proved to be an easy and quick channel for contacting a brand. Also, It’s nice when customers can go online and book an in-person appointment with their dedicated sales representative.
Luxury brands offer repair and cleaning services - why shouldn’t users book these online?
Looking for a dedicated team to make your online presence flawless and exquisite? We are here to help!
Monsoon Consulting are Ireland's only Adobe Gold Solution Partner, focusing on delivering best-in-class B2B and B2C eCommerce solutions to large companies such as Uniphar PLC, Sysco (Pallas Foods), Topline, Heat Merchants Group, One4All and Central Bank of Ireland.
The team at Monsoon provide a full-service offering from business consultancy & strategic planning, UX & UI creative design, development & engineering, Infra & Dev ops to a dedicated Support team, offering 24x7 critical application support.
For more information on how Monsoon Consulting can help your business online, please get in touch with email@example.com or call +353 (0)1 4750066