Marketing quality luxury products and services to the luxury market – online luxury experience to offline luxury enjoyment – what is the best way to get our products out there?
My parents business has been involved in marketing luxury fashion and textiles for a number of years – some things have changed – some have not. The question that now arises, is how effective are we as an industry in getting our products out into the right market place at the right price, at the right time and in the right way?
Cheap imports from places like India and China undermine the value of the one-off designers and producers. So called ‘designer’ products flood the local low quality markets and shopping malls making ‘designer’ labels available to all but a few instead of only being able to reach the few elite. The ability to imitate high end items at the speed of light has meant that cheap rip off products are being produced on a massive scale – which makes us very twitchy about protecting our intellectual ‘design’ property and our customers wary of looking like a fool. In short with imitation jewels and fake stuff that can look just as good to the uneducated eye, the luxury market is in my view having to work harder to provide something of real value.
Defining luxury too is perhaps something to be considered. Just because it is expensive, flashy or extra squidgy does not mean that it is a genuine luxury item. Gone too are the days when slave labour has been a badge of status of which we can be proud. Ethical, humane and environmental issues are rapidly changing the power and the interests of the wealthy. So what is actually a luxury product?
Speed of education through the internet means that we can research things that we want, whenever we want, so getting away from the shopping habits and behaviour patterns as dictated by the local stores, merchants as well as industry and society. We can make our own minds up whether we want to buy into a certain lifestyle or not. If people aren’t doing what we actually want on our own doorstep, then we can find a community of people on the internet where we can share thoughts and experiences enabling us to make our own choices. Added to this, if someone does rip us off – there can be blog, or feedback comment about it somewhere giving us the power to tell the world about it – so helping others make their own minds up too!
So with all these changing factors, when it comes to a specialist niche market like the luxury sector – how can we get good quality products out there in such a way as to rise above all the mediocrity whilst retaining our integrity?
What do luxury customers want? How do they want their experience of buying from us to be differentiated from other more common suppliers? How can we reach those people in the first place? And how can we look after them once we have found them?
I know that from my experiences in the family business for the last 30 years, there are certain things that are always going to work but with the way that the internet is expanding and developing, I am not sure that everything that we have done before is going to apply. It is just finding out what we can do to move with the changes.
I would be very interested to hear from anyone who would be interested in being a part of a group of people who want to learn more about marketing luxury items successfully. I am not selling my services – I am looking for collaboration, communication and the mutually beneficial sharing of resources and information. I would love to hear from people who have a view on the luxury sector.