‘The best things in life are free, the second best are very expensive.’
Coco Chanel coined this phrase more than fifty years ago, but it’s never rang more true than in the 21st century. The luxury goods market is the only industry that’s proved recession-proof. Last year, more than 10 million new consumers dipped their toe in the luxury goods pool, taking the annual global spend to almost £200 billion pounds.
As we amble into the second quarter of 2014, the luxury market shows no signs of putting its (no doubt diamond-encrusted) brakes on. Just this month, Etihad Airways unveiled what it claims is the world’s most luxurious passenger plane. Soon to be available on commercial flights, The Residence by Etihad is a three-room VIP suite that comes with its own living room, double bedroom, en suite shower and Savoy Academy-trained butler. Jewellers Buccellati, meanwhile, just announced the creation of the world’s most expensive iPhone case, which rings through the tills at an eye-watering £123,000.
With all this in mind, today’s launch of the Internet’s newest web address ending, .luxury, will seem like perfect timing. The launch comes at a time when more and more luxury brands are upping their online efforts. This year, Tom Ford announced his plans to begin selling items online, calling his forthcoming ecommerce site ‘a major new avenue for future growth’.
And it makes sense. After all, studies consistently show that wealthier consumers use digital media more regularly than their cash-strapped counterparts. For example, last year, those with cavernous bank balances were 47 percent more likely to purchase something online than those earning less than £60,000 per year.
However, if you’re planning on getting your luxury brand online, you need a website that’s as tailored to your customers as a Saville Row suit. The most accomplished online luxury brands follow a recipe for success, which includes the following…
Immersive Social Media
On average, luxury brands attract four times as many facebook fans as consumer brands. That’s because they make their social media immersive. One of the most famous social sharing success stories is that of Burberry’s Art of the Trench, in which Burberry asked their customers to share pictures of themselves wearing their trenchcoats around the world. The company set up a microsite to facilitate the sharing. In the year following the campaign, the brand’s facebook following grew to one million and their ecommerce went up by fifty percent. Neimna Marcu, meanwhile, uses crowdsourced tips to populate its online magazine InSite.
Studies repeatedly show that the use of tablets and mobiles is extremely high within segments of the luxury market. When Gucci redesigned their website to make it mobile-optimised, they experienced a four-fold increase in mobile revenue.
Make sure your .luxury web hosting package comes with enough bandwidth to stream video content. Luxury fashion sites like Marc Jacobs, Donna Karen and Alexander Wang all use video on their sites.
Blurred Lines between Online and In-store
When you’re developing your .luxury website, you need to consider its future. More and more luxury stores are blurring the lines between online and in-store experiences. Burberry is leading the charge again in this arena. Its Regent Street store is home to the world’s largest digital screen, which towers at 22 feet tall. Plus, it has a customisation room where you can digitally design your own trench coat.
Music plays a big part in buying behaviour when it comes to luxury products. Louis Vuitton plays jazz music when it streams its fashion shows, which has been shown to prolong the online browsing experience of the customer. Fast tempo music, meanwhile, is likely to encourage a rapid-sale; the sort that’s used by less luxurious brands like Boohoo.com.
Get your own .luxury web address on the UK2 website now.