Have you ever noticed that luxury brands rarely sell online? Sure, big names have elaborate, appealing websites, but many of them have restricted ecommerce offerings because it’s just not exclusive enough. Ecommerce is for the masses and luxury brands thrive on the distinction between those who can afford a product and those who can’t. That difference has kept as many as 40% of luxury retailers out of ecommerce.
The challenge with not selling online, of course, is that even high-end clients like convenience, but convenience and luxury don’t generally fit together – and that takes an innovative approach to ecommerce.
For luxury brands trying to increase customer access without losing their cachet, these 4 strategies can help combine appeal and ease seamlessly.
The Video View
Video marketing is growing in importance in all ecommerce areas, but for luxury brands, video is especially valuable; for brands with money, production value can make a real impact. For example, this onsite advertisement for Chanel’s J12 watch isn’t just about function – in fact, the video is wordless – but rather, it’s a high fashion scene, styled like a photo shoot or fashion show. More accessible brands can neither afford to make nor would they especially benefit from such videos, but luxury brands can use them to pull the strings of intrigue.
The Language Of Luxury
One thing that will always set luxury brands apart from lower status competitors is the language used in sales copy. That’s because luxury brands have a language of their own, from unique value proposals to in-group vocabulary. Polishing your language, then, will set you apart from those selling cheaper knock-off products.
Often, luxury language is field-specific, so that means a furniture maker might cite textile makers or carpentry techniques in their copy. The Three Graces, a fine jewelry purveyor, highlights style periods like “Victorian diamond rings,” with gemstones and diamond cutting styles such as “cushion cut” or “old European cut.” Only qualified buyers would even know how to search for these terms, and conversely they authorize your brand in the eyes of such buyers.
Simplicity As Strategy
In addition to exclusivity, a key reason that luxury brands are resistant to ecommerce is that online sales remove a lot of the personalized customer service aspects that are a hallmark of the industry. How do you demonstrate service and commitment to your buyers if you don’t interact with them?
One way to bring this kind of personalization into ecommerce is by offering moments of simplification. For example, your average ecommerce website wants checkout to be as simple as possible to prevent cart abandonment, but luxury sites might consider taking this to the next level.
During traditional work hours, say, they might offer a direct chat with representatives who can call up customer accounts, monitor sales history, and allow clients to sidestep log-ins and other mundane interactions. It’s a personal touch that also eliminates burdensome checkout requirements for valued customers.
Ultimately, the most important thing for luxury brands moving into ecommerce is to remember who they are. Just because you’re moving into digital sales doesn’t mean you have to compromise what makes your brand unique.
Just look at Apple. As a style-focused computer brand, they’ve always had to walk the line between luxury and accessibility, and that’s given them an advantage compared to more recent ecommerce entries that’s evident at first click. With sleek animations and attention to detail, Apple’s site exemplifies their brand values as user-friendly but classier than your average technology shop.
In the next few years, it’s likely that the majority of luxury brands will move online, at least in part, and that means they’re going to bring new ideas and techniques to the world of web design, if only to stand out from the competition. Whether it’s interactive video displays or online concierge services, the new is on the horizon. As for now, tapping into the aesthetic and service features that make luxury brands distinctive can help make the transition a little easier.