3 Ways Luxury Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Can Win Against E-Tailers
The latest Empathica Consumer Insights Panel survey revealed that almost half of Americans (48.1 percent) prefer shopping for luxury products online. This number will continue to grow if store retailers don't take action. The real threat comes from the ability to scan SKUs in-store from their smartphone apps to instantly compare prices with those offered online. Since e-tailers are generally less expensive than brick-and-mortar retailers, shoppers order online from their smartphone and walk out of the store empty-handed. Simply put, brick-and-mortar stores are facing a harsh reality: they're quickly becoming showrooms for e-tailers.
Here are three ways luxury retailers can continue to drive traffic, enhance their brand loyalty and increase in-store sales:
1. Help build the shopper's identity. Only 38 percent of respondents to the consumer survey felt they received superior customer service when making a luxury purchase. Conversely, almost one in three consumers said they consider highly knowledgeable and well-trained employees the most important element in purchasing a luxury product.
These findings emphasize the importance of ensuring sales associates not only know the products, but also connect with consumers on a personal level. One way to enable this type of behavior is to have associates sell the "benefit of the benefit."
A sports coat, for example, goes well beyond keeping the consumer warm. It's an opportunity for them to build identity. Does the coat have a British feel? Does it remind the consumer of the sports jacket his dad used to wear during family vacations when he was a little boy? The store associate can use the jacket as an opportunity to transport the shopper to an idealized time and place.
2. Focus on the little touches that matter. More than a third of survey respondents indicated that the retailer didn't communicate with them following their luxury purchase. Half the battle — getting the consumer to frequent your brand — is already won when they step into your store. The issue for most retailers, however, is that they fail to fight the other half of the battle: post-purchase follow up.