Luxury goods brands are slow in adopting e-commerce strategies

By our News Team | 2022

Study finds that marketers of luxury goods are worried they may not be able to ensure traditional quality, exclusivity and tradition.

Luxury brands represent an important part of the global economy, albeit one that is accessible only to a small number of people. Research into digital retailing in this realm has always been sparse and there has been little to indicate the way in which its norms have changed in the wake of the pandemic. 

Now a research paper published in the academic International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing offers a qualitative study that provides some insights into the world of luxury brands.

Digital Retailing

The Louis Vuitton store on exclusive Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Photo by Stephane Muratet via Wikimedia Commons

Giuseppe Colella and Cesare Amatulli, of the University of Bari in Italy, point out that several earlier studies focused on the role that digital technologies have played in the communication surrounding luxury brands. However, these have not widely investigated the digital retail distribution strategies of those businesses providing luxury brands.

The researchers explain that, despite the rapid advent of the internet and the current accessibility of social media and other such tools, many luxury goods companies have been hesitant in adopting strategic online distribution and sales systems. This is because of management’s concern that, in the digital world, they may not be able to ensure the quality, exclusivity and tradition commonly associated with these exclusive brands. 

Strengthen relationships with digital retail channels

Colella and Amatulli add that luxury brands must strengthen their relationships with digital retail channels in order to provide a new kind of shopping experience for consumers of luxury goods, as well as maintain a dominant position in the market.

The research team used a qualitative and exploratory approach, with semi-structured one-to-one interviews with experts from a leading digital marketing company, in order to develop some initial insights and offer markers for which avenues of future research in this area might follow.

“Given the current global economic scenario, battered as it is by the Covid-19 pandemic, luxury industry leaders must be committed to longer-term strategic planning,” the team writes. 

“In this sense, e-commerce could be a crucial channel for maintaining sales, communicating with consumers and driving new consumer activation.” 

They add that “digital marketing could help boost online sales, on the one hand, while enticing consumers to discover and visit stores once they reopen, on the other”.

To access the full research, click here.