Luxury Shoppers Aren’t Online Just for the Products
by Sadee Gamhewa
The story of ecommerce is one of strong growth and consistent optimization of the value chain. This holds true even if we look past the surge in online shopping driven by the pandemic (and the concurrent supply chain challenges). Amazon and other online sellers have accomplished amazing things when it comes to product availability, product purchase mechanisms, and product delivery. Meanwhile, luxury brands have been truly remarkable extending the expression of their brand from in-store and print to digital and social. However, luxury brands have not reached far enough into the ecommerce experience with their brands. They have allowed the luxury product experience to become practical.
When shopping for a commodity item, shoppers want to find it quickly, pay a fair price and get it as soon as possible. But when shopping for luxury products, shoppers expect more. What they’re buying has more meaning for them than commodity items. This is why luxury brands create unique in-store experiences. For decades, in-store experience and branding have been the strength of luxury brands. And when the online world came into being, luxury brands understood how to extend their brands to digital. In fact, mediums like online video unleashed the creativity of luxury brands, taking them beyond the constraints of billboards and print magazines to create even richer, cinematic experiences.
But like every business, creativity at some point must connect with the operational. And this often creates tension. Luxury brands are experiencing that tension at the point of Product Discovery.
Luxury brands, coupled with the reach of advertising and social media, draw the intended response from shoppers to visit their online stores. They are then treated to an, often wonderful, multi-media experience. But brands need to consider a fresh approach to build the bridge from the brand experience to product discovery. This has been viewed as an operational problem best solved with a toolset consisting of logical navigation and individual product pages - “Here is what we have to sell and here is what it looks like.”
Inside a physical luxury store, you feel the carefully crafted ambiance, the product’s texture, the season or occasion it relates to, and how it transitions thoughtfully to the item next to it. But online, we are often presented with cold navigation and square product images. This can make luxury shoppers feel they’ve been dropped out of a lovely brand story into a flat, transactional world. For luxury brands and retailers, pushing their creativity deeper into the online shopping experience is their frontier in ecommerce.
Luxury shoppers are not here just for the products.