Is it possible to keep online luxury exclusive?

Isaac Mostovicz writes that luxury websites can work, if they appeal to how people interpret luxury...

Following up on my recent post about luxury companies going online, the Economist has posted an interesting article on luxury companies going online. Some companies, like Tiffany & Co., are doing quite well with their online sales, while others, like Fabergé, are taking more of a ‘wait and see’ approach. These companies say they are reluctant to put their goods for sale online because the experience isn’t the same. Says the author:

Luxury executives explain that the internet is too impersonal for their products, which need the human touch. Allowing anyone to buy online can mean a loss of cachet. Luxury firms like to dazzle customers with plush stores and sleek ads, so that they think only about beauty and not at all about price. The web, by contrast, shines a clear light on price. “That’s the last thing I want people to think about,” wails an executive from the watch industry.

Still, luxury firms are going online in greater numbers because their customers increasingly want the convenience of ordering online. I don’t think it’s impossible for luxury companies to offer a unique, exclusive experience through the online channel. It just needs to be well planned and thought out, and needs to appeal to the different ways that individuals look at the world and consume luxury. A website that appeals to a Lambda woman in one way and a Theta man in another could be quite successful.

Photo by Erin Blatzer

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