We’ve seen e-commerce make tremendous gains in the past decade, but for the most part, luxury e-commerce sales haven’t enjoyed the same success.
Most everyday goods don’t need a unique selling proposition beyond a reasonable price, straightforward shopping experience and timely shipping, but luxury goods do.
However, that’s starting to change. Luxury brands are finally figuring out how to replicate the in-store luxury experience and blend it with the convenience from which e-commerce rose to build loyal customer bases.
Here are three brands to know in the bright future of luxury e-commerce.
Luxury or not, one area an e-commerce store can’t afford to be slack in is the fulfillment process. Most consumers these days expect either free or two-day shipping. While the free shipping sentiment is mostly geared toward inexpensive items, nobody wants to wait a while for their order.
For luxury brands selling high-quality goods, deciding how to navigate the fulfillment waters is tricky. By offering free and/or speedy shipping and a lenient return process, brands open themselves to increased return volume and high reverse logistics costs. Developing a thorough logistics process within the overall supply chain can help reduce costs, but for many brands, this isn’t economical.
Luxury fashion store Farfetch is taking a sensible shortcut, partnering with select brands and boutiques in 12 valuable international markets like Milan, New York City, London and Paris to deliver orders within 90 minutes. The service, called F90, isn’t free (fees vary by city). However, the shipping cost is refunded if the order doesn’t arrive within 90 minutes. Services like F90 are bound to become more mainstream as luxury brands grapple to meet consumer demand without having to develop time-consuming and capital-draining fulfillment processes.
Replicating the in-person experience luxury shoppers have come to expect over the years is integral to luxury e-commerce success. But without incorporating the finer details of what technology and e-commerce can offer, online luxury consumers are likely to get bored.
This is especially true for luxury brands operating on a drop shipping model, like men’s fashion outlet, Mr Porter. One-way Mr. Porter’s shopping experience stands out from their competitors is their exceptional 24/7 customer service and free return shipping policy (within 28 days).
It’s through Mr. Porter’s “extremely important people” (EIP) feature that they’ve really incorporated the in-store personal assistant to their online shopping experience. Mr Porter’s EIPs can enjoy at-home shopping consultations and try-on delivery service for same-day orders. Any items customers don’t want can be collected by a representative immediately.
One of the challenges of catering to a global marketplace is providing convenient shopping experiences. From listing the proper sizing increments for each visitor to having fluid product language, opportunities for customer misalignment run rampant. Among these many shopping details, it’s easy to overlook potentially the biggest one: payment. Luxury purveyor of everything from handbags and shoes to clothing, Rebecca Minkoff leverages cloud-based e-commerce solutions to clear up any payment and pricing confusion from the onset. With a geolocation feature, a user’s pricing and currency automatically update to the preferred currency of their region. Shoppers can also select a preferred location and currency outside of their geolocation.
To know these three brands is to get a small glimpse of the future of luxury e-commerce. With the online luxury fashion market forecasted to more than triple by 2025, there’s no telling what other innovative customer care, shipping and online shopping features will be introduced to win shoppers’ loyalty in the years to come.