Most luxury brands have long histories, and some of them start long before technology was an everyday topic. They have written this history in offline stores, by word of mouth. Today, the typical marketing campaign implies paid ads that could reach millions of people, if created smartly.
So, the two questions that pop into our heads are: How could they manage to create such a reputation by reaching out just to a limited number of people? How could they survive through any economic condition?
Luxury Brands in the Digital Era
Apparently, these brands have a mind of their own, and the principles they follow are set in stone. One of the first rules of marketing for high-end names is that they don’t sell to everybody. Their audience is well targeted and narrowed, or simply put, it’s exclusive.
So how does that go with the online world, where everyone sells everything but the kitchen sink?
The primary advantage of a high-end brand is that it focuses on the customers’ experience. Rarely do they address directly to new audiences, but instead rely on the high quality of their products to attract the new customers.
High-end department stores like Harrods are close to Hogwarts when you step inside them. You simply don’t know where to look first. From fine foods and drinks to luxury clothes and high-end watches, they offer an experience. And that’s the ace up their sleeve.
However, that doesn’t mean these brands don’t need to make their presence felt online. After all, we live in the age where everything that is relevant (and not only) is listed online. Why wouldn’t they be, too?
Brick and Mortar Stores vs Online Shops
For these brands, websites and social media are positioned differently than for a standard company. Their purpose is not to replace the shopping experience in an offline store, but to encourage the customers to learn about that experience they could have if they stepped into an offline store.
Technology saves lots of time and effort – you can wander the streets looking for stores, or you can search for top 10 men’s online clothing stores. Afterward, you can to go to the nearest store to try them out, especially if they are made of a pretentious fabric.
On the same note, globalization comes with an excellent endorsement opportunity for many brands.
Brands like Cartier have become an icon of the pop culture especially after the social media bubble popped, although the name is alive since 1847 and many stars have worn it before. When a celebrity with posts photos on his or her personal accounts, millions of fans see it in an instant – and all eyes are on the outfit and accessories.
While it’s still disputable whether luxury and accessibility contradict each other or not, these brands don’t seem to complain. Actually, the trend seems to be in their favor.
The Future is Bright for High-End Ecommerce
Because luxury means exclusivity more than anything else, online marketing was thought to be a threat to high-end brands. Apparently, this niche was perceived as the most resistant to the digital transformation, and for good reasons. But the statistics show a different reality.
According to McKinsey & Company, the sales in the luxury market have almost quadrupled between 2009 and 2014 (from $4 Billion to $14 Billion).
In 2017, Digital Commerce released a report stating that the digital market for luxury brands is worth $20 Billion. Interestingly enough, the overall sales of luxury items have dropped. This means the luxury consumers have turned to the digital world, and find it more convenient to buy the items with a few screen taps.
The same McKinsey & Company estimate that by 2025, the online luxury market could be worth $70 Billion. All we can do is stay tuned and watch closely how it evolves.
Is That the End of Offline High-end Stores?
The stores are a great part of the company’s identity. They are the place that connects the brand with the customer.
Moreover, the fact that the clients tend to buy the items online doesn’t mean they didn’t previously go in store to test the products and get that unique experience. Maybe it just means they wanted it delivered to their door, instead of walking around with the bags.
The truth is that the newer generation is more attracted than ever by high-end brands, luxury clothing, and exclusive experiences. In addition to that, the accessibility to luxury items has also increased, and not only because of their digital transformation.
Today, more people than ever before are in the middle-upper class, and that is easy to observe. The majority of people affords to go on vacations, to take the car to work every day or to have dinner at a restaurant. And this can only strengthen the belief that e-commerce and luxury brands are a match made in heaven, after all.