In Trends

How should luxury brands embrace the internet?

How does a luxury brand retain its extravagant feel while catering to the growing horde of consumers who love to shop online?

Luxury is about scarcity, exclusivity. The internet is about mass and reducing those boundaries, and so it’s a real conflict,” said Barbara Kahn, a Wharton marketing professor and director of the school’s Jay H. Baker Retailing Center. “But of course, if people are shopping online, luxury is going to have to go in that direction.”

Research shows that only 10 percent of luxury sales happen online. Yet purveyors of posh are exploring how to harness the power of online channels in a way that augments their image, their customer service and, ultimately, their profits.

Luxury brands have a story to share, a legacy to maintain and an experience for the customer. That’s why many of them often don’t sell their products online or offer only a curated number of items for online purchase. Instead, they use their websites as a digital extension of the customer experience.

An attractive, engaging website and a well-fed social media account can add dimension that draws more potential customers to a brand. Chanel’s website, for example, features video clips from its runway shows, celebrities and legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld.

One downside for luxury brands trying to sell opulence online is price transparency. Posting different prices for the same item in different countries can lead to comparison shopping, and some luxury brands find posting prices is not part of the luxury experience.

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(Source: Retail Wire)

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