E-commerce has long been a sore point for many luxury brands. Luxury brands differentiate themselves in part by the high-end experiences they offer in-store and have sometimes struggled to adapt those experiences to the web. Online, without the immersive experience of walking into a luxury storefront and being greeted by a thoughtfully curated assortment of products and a knowledgeable salesperson, high-end retailers worry whether their luxury goods will be as appealing.
Luxury retailers seek to solve this problem by re-creating luxury experiences online.
Storytelling is arguably the most important aspect of the luxury e-commerce experience. Luxury brands are defined by their heritage, by a rich history of craftsmanship and design, and those aspects of the brand must be communicated online.
Storytelling is a critical component for the success of nearly any lifestyle brand. But for luxury brands in particular, storytelling around heritage is a way for them to distinguish themselves from lesser competitors. Luxury brands focus on storytelling content as a means of differentiating and communicating their value. In the online world, without all the benefits of the in-store experience, customers need a reason to commit to expensive purchases. Storytelling is all about luxury brands telling customers what makes their products special and why they’re worthy of their customers’ attention.
Customer service is a key element of the luxury in-store experience. Knowledgeable salespeople are on hand to guide the customer experience, to pamper them, and to answer their questions about products and styling. This experience, of course, is one that can’t be translated (or not precisely translated) to the digital sphere. To attempt to bridge that gap, luxury retailers place an emphasis on enhanced customer service on their websites. Most product pages on luxury ecommerce sites prominently feature ways to get in touch with customer service and emphasize the high-end nature of delivery service.
Driving to stores
Because the in-store experience is such an important component of luxury retail, luxury brands use their e-commerce website design as a means of promoting their stores and boutiques. Luxury brands know that though many customers will conduct research online, some may ultimately prefer to visit a store to actually make a purchase. More than other e-commerce brands with brick-and-mortar presences, luxury e-commerce sites heavily promote the ability to find an item in a store, or to order it online and pickup in store.
Attention to detail
Luxury e-commerce sites pay a lot of attention to detail, particularly as those details pertain to translating the brand’s personality to the digital space. Savvy luxury brands do not sacrifice web usability in favor of unique aesthetics (though many luxury brands, in an effort to stand out, do end up with barely functional websites that are unpleasant, if not impossible to shop).
Courtesy of Forbes