Selling luxury goods and services is different than selling economic goods and services. There are several reasons for this. The customer being targeted is much different, as is their motivation for buying, how much they’re willing to pay, and what they expect to get out of a product or service. With that being the case, it’s important to keep several factors in mind when optimizing a website for luxury brands.
1. Don’t forget the basics
It’s easy to get caught up in innovative features and new technology to communicate the value of your brand or what you’re selling, but you can’t forget the basics. Whether you’re selling a luxury product or service or not, your user experience should be top-notch. This includes ensuring your products are easy to find, the quality of your message is consistent throughout, and customers’ questions are answered.
Think about your product and how your customer may connect with it. How would they engage with the product if they were in-person? Your product descriptions should aim to evoke emotion. Your website should communicate the luxury experience a customer will get should they decide to purchase from you or come visit your store. This includes making sure your message is appealing, streamlined, and organized; avoiding using stock photos; and minimizing distractions such as banners and popups.
2. Forget pricing tactics
If your customer is looking to purchase high-end goods or services, they probably aren’t as price sensitive as customers in economy or discount markets. Luxury consumers aren’t likely to be scared to spend a few hundred or few thousand dollars. These consumers are willing to spend a bit more to get that “luxury” experience. Price is not the deciding factor. The perceived value of your item may actually go down should you highlight a lower price or offer a discount. This is because that reduces the feeling of exclusivity, which is part of the luxury experience. If a customer feels like your product is now accessible to more people, where’s the “prestige” in owning it?
That’s not to say you should never provide discounts or deals to your customer. It simply means that you should do so sparingly. Remember that a “deal” doesn’t necessarily mean a reduced price, either. It can also include offering a customer additional value, whether that be with a complimentary service, free shipping, or personalization.
3. Focus on the feeling of exclusivity
A large part of the luxury experience is exclusivity and scarcity. Luxury buyers want to feel like they are part of something special, that inclusion is not a given, and accessibility is limited. But it’s even more important to ensure that the scarcity you’re promising is real. Don’t fake that you only have a few items in stock if you have a full inventory, or don’t offer an “exclusive” deal that’s available to any and all buyers. Creating scarcity can be accomplished in multiple ways, from physical to virtual.
The most common way to create virtual scarcity—and one nearly every luxury site should implement—is the “limited quantities available” messaging. This signals to the customer that they must act fast if they want to be part of that “exclusive club.”
4. Focus on what the customer is getting
This point is about focusing on the big questions: why should someone buy from you? What are they getting when they purchase a product or service from you? Don’t just list features; create a story that communicates how the customer will feel when interacting with your product or how to use it.
The best method to figure this out is to do your research. There’s no better way to figure out what your site is lacking or how it can be improved than by asking your customers directly. This includes interviewing your customers, asking them to participate in surveys, and even talking to them one-on-one. This will give you invaluable insight into whether or not your customers are overall satisfied with your site and purchase process. It can help you improve your site’s copy, product descriptions, and even images.
5. There’s a ceiling to prices
People buy based on perceived value. That means customers are only willing to pay what they believe something is worth. Yes, they’re willing to pay more for luxury goods and services, but you can’t just set a high price and hope a customer will buy your product because it’s “luxury.” They must feel like the value they perceive matches the price you’ve asked them to pay.
How do you make that happen? Don’t sell based solely on emotions. That can cause friction and lead to buyer’s remorse. People want to feel reassured that they are making the right decision. You want to give them solid justification for buying your product, and that starts with logic. The language you use should include things like “best available rate,” “professionally inspected,” and “personal concierge.” Those phrases allow the buyer to come to the conclusion that their decision to purchase your product is based in facts, logic, and research, and not raw emotion that may fade post-purchase.
Putting It All Together
Just like anything else, luxury products and services can be sold online effectively. However, the strategies with which you approach your online marketing are different than those with which you’d approach an economy or discount site. Here are the factors you should keep in mind when optimizing your luxury site:
• Research! Knowing your buyer and what they want is the ultimate key to converting. That means conducting customer interviews and surveys to understand your customer at the deepest level.
• Convey the benefits of buying your product. Customers want to know they’re getting something high-end and exclusive when they decide to purchase from you. Tell them!
• Use logic. Whether a person is buying a low-end or high-end product, they want to know their purchase is smart. Utilize language in your copy and product descriptions that allows the customer to justify their purchase.