There is a scene in Pretty Woman (you know, the famous movie Julia Roberts and Richard Gere?), where main character Vivian Ward, enjoys the perks of shopping along ultra-luxurious Rodeo Drive.
In the film Crazy Rich Asians, character Astrid Leong-Teo (played by Gemma Chan) sips tea from a priceless cup whilst buying a million-dollar pair of earrings from a private jeweler.
The point of sharing these clips isn’t to get you to add them to your Netflix queue—it’s to remind you that high-end shoppers expect luxury retailers to go to great lengths to keep them happy.
But at a time when ecommerce growth continues to pull customers—even high-end customers—away from brick-and-mortar, how can luxury brands deliver a “champagne and caviar” for their digital shoppers?
In-store, the burden of meeting this expectation falls most heavily on the sales associates. It is their responsibility to share product information, field any question, and cater to the requests of the shopper in their charge.
Online, meeting this expectation is more complicated. Yes, a brand can provide robust product descriptions and high-definition photography to help shoppers make a decision—but that isn’t enough. At a minimum, retailers aiming to deliver a luxury experience online must include 360-product photography, video, digital fitting rooms that utilize augmented reality, and personal-shopper support. Again, these are the minimum for supporting high-end shoppers online. Other offerings might include complimentary gift wrapping (tissue paper, branded boxes, ribbon, etc.), overnight shipping, etc.
Fulfillment is a nerve-wracking endeavor in the luxury retail sector.
For all their pomp and prestige, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent are just as exposed to the vulnerabilities of fulfillment as ZARA and H&M—they can’t control the weather, can’t dictate courier behavior, and they can’t be there when the customer unpackages their product for the first time. In a “go with God” mentality, once an order leaves the warehouse, most luxury brands just sit back and wait to see what happens next.
Doing this (or, rather, doing nothing) is a mistake—post-purchase service offerings are a major opportunity for luxury brands.
From branded tracking pages that make it crystal-clear where orders are in-transit, to SMS-notifications regarding fulfillment delays, to follow-up emails from a customer service agent that ask shoppers if they need any help unboxing their purchase—there are countless ways luxury brands can enhance their customer’s experience.
For luxury brands like Salvatore Ferragamo, Oscar de la Renta, and Bergdorf Goodman, it’s necessary to exceed customer expectations before, during, and after a purchase.
Doing so isn’t only necessary for cementing customer loyalty—it’s also crucial to winning new business and growing market share.
These are just a few of the luxury leaders with enough post-purchase brand control to maintain an air of exclusivity, while also offering the speed and transparency that shoppers now expect in a digital first world.
With that being said, here are the four things every luxury brand needs to offer in their post-purchase experience:
To learn more about these four offerings, read this ebook that explains how luxury brands can solve their biggest ecommerce challenges.