Last year, e-commerce sales reached a whooping €368.4 billion in Europe, which is €61.5 billion more than the year before. The predictions are that this number will continue to grow further. Despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, a habit to buy online is here to stay. Millennials and Gen X will be mainly driving this shift, and their expectations towards online spaces are as high as the price of Panthère de Cartier bracelet.
This shift in customer behavior expands opportunities for the e-commerce business. As people become more accustomed to spending online, they also become more comfortable ordering expensive products through digital channels. The experiential part of buying high-end products was previously inexplicably connected with the in-person experience. Walking into a store, being offered a glass of champagne, and browsing through the newest collection of the most exquisite designs is a pleasure that can hardly be substituted with online shopping. Or can it?
The question is - how do you sell high-ticket products online? How do you convey the quality it offers without showing it IRL? How do you cover the experiential needs of shopping for luxury products online?
While our team hasn’t sold any products worth $1 million yet, we have extensive experience marketing high-end goods and we are researching current trends. We are happy to share a few things you should do to sell these products online.
Breakfast at Tiffany.co?
Since you don’t have a chance to showcase the look and feel in real life, your website should serve this purpose. Make sure it connects well with your brand values - exclusivity, high quality, authenticity. Make sure you use the best website designs and maintain an equally expensive appearance. Keep in mind, however, that usability and user experience are paramount in digital commerce. So make sure that you don’t compromise them while implementing your design.
Needless to say, high-quality images are a must. But go beyond that - add a 360-degree view of products, or incorporate augmented reality.
In China, many brands have integrated live streams by influencers and brand ambassadors, and we believe it will soon capture the attention of European shoppers as well. Gucci was the first brand to launch a personalized in-store service using videos, Fendi implemented an online chat where one of the employees starts a video chat, Burberry, and Prada using Chinese messenger WeChat to provide one-on-one video chatting with a stylist.
Overly-staged editorial and static images just will not do it for Gen Z. Interactivity and personalization is the future of luxury e-commerce.
Black Friday and Random Sales are a No Go!
Consistent pricing is another aspect of developing client trust. Don’t overindulge yourself in promotions. That’s an easy way to get your customers getting used to special deals and instantly switch off when they see items selling at full price. Instead, use special offers and discounts to develop your relationship with your clients further. Think of special promotions for people who have bought from you before, discounts on second items, and loyalty programs.
Next time one of the teammates offers to launch a massive Black Friday sale - put yourself in the shoes of a customer who 3 days ago bought your product for the full price. It can make him feel cheated and disappointed.
When it comes to luxury segments, ego is can be the retailer’s amigo. When buying expensive products people often experience a feeling of self-achievement. Do not take it away from them by discounting products.
Building a relationship with customers is very important in this line of business. Unlike mass retailers, you have the capability to develop personal relationships with your customers. Use that to your advantage. Do not simply tell your clients about the benefits of your product - let them discover them on their own. Remember, how much fun it could be to passionately browse the web to find some obscure websites and social media profiles to find reviews and photos of your potential purchase? Or to randomly find out that Emily Ratajkowski just bought a bag from that Boutique Greek online shop you had your eyes on for a while? It’s fun!
Social proof, such as customer reviews, are great for that. Make sure, however, that you don’t simply share the best reviews on your website, as these can easily be faked and hence not trustworthy enough. Instead, incentive happy clients to share reviews on third-party platforms - Facebook, Google, etc, along with the images of your product in use.
Finding an influencer that shares values with your brand, could be an amazing way to promote your product without sounding overly commercial or fake, and the impact of it could be huge.
Sell aspiration, not a product
People buy high-priced products not just for functional benefit, but also because of the certain feeling they create. Therefore, make sure to use that in your marketing. Instead of focusing on the functional benefits of your product, focus on the feeling it gives. Showcase the specific lifestyle your consumers aspire to live. If your product taps into the value of freedom associated with financial independence, you can display that by portraying people enjoying your product in a luxury space with well thought out interiors.
Social media is a good place to showcase the lifestyle you want to sell to your consumers. Make sure to use high-quality, relevant visuals to connect with your audience. Think of ways to communicate the feeling through images and videos - whether through sound, textures, or carefully selected closeups.
We might be a digital marketing agency, but we are strong believers in a life where offline experiences are complimented by well-executed and personalized online experiences. There is space for both online and offline sales for any price segment and product, however, we believe it's the human connection and personal touch that would be decision-making factors. Especially when a product brings experiential and not just functional benefit.