Luxury brands lose exclusivity online, study finds

luxury brands online shoppingAffluent shoppers say luxury brands and retailers lose ‘a sense of exclusivity’ online, harming their revival from the COVID-19 pandemic, an independent poll has found.

The study of 1,000 consumers who shop with luxury brands by Norstat, commissioned by London Dynamics, found retailers who have traditionally been reluctant to put investment into their eCommerce experience risk losing loyal customers that seek a superior online experience.

According to the research, three-quarters (75%) of high-end shoppers said the quality of a retailer’s website and online experience determines where they will shop. To highlight the scale of the opportunity for retailers, one in three Millennials (36%) said they were making luxury purchases online for the first time during the pandemic.

Those shoppers polled are demanding retailers showcase high-end products better (63%), offer an opportunity to try products in a virtual environment (43%), offer online consultation services (38%) and make websites easier to browse and interact within a mobile environment (35%).

Commenting on the results, Michael Valdsgaard, Executive Chairman and CEO at London Dynamics, said: “With so many shoppers forced online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge for luxury brands and retailers is how they build an online experience that matches up to the incredible quality of their physical stores.

“When spending thousands of pounds on a single luxury item online, customers will take some persuading. What particularly interested me in the results is the willingness of shoppers to buy luxury items online when the retailer offers the kind of quality experience they come to expect.”

Asked what would cause them to abandon the purchase of luxury goods the majority of shoppers (60%) said not being able to have a proper look at the product, concerns around spending large amounts online (50%), fears that the product wouldn’t meet their expectations (45%) and not having enough product detail (37%).

Luxury shoppers believe high quality imagery, the ability to see the product in three dimensions and augmented reality (AR) are the best initiatives they have seen that would convince them to buy luxury goods online.

Valdsgaard added: “Luxury brands and retailers are rightly proud of their bricks-and-mortar stores, which will always be a huge part of an omnichannel strategy. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to bring their online experience in line with this.

“The results are clear; if retailers provide high quality imagery of the products, in real-life environments empowered by augmented reality, shoppers are more than ready to spend.”