Your Business Online | Professional Jeweler

April 11, 2001
Appealing to Luxury Shoppers
New research shows luxury shopping sites aren't providing what affluent shoppers want

Despite the millions of dollars luxury e-tailers spent trying to appeal to affluent online shoppers, Forrester Research finds it's not working. Luxury e-tailers miss their target audience. The most common mistake made is assuming affluent shoppers want to be dazzled online by exclusivity, extravagance and entertainment. Based on this assumption, many luxury e-tailers built Web sites with bandwidth-intensive interfaces that load slowly and require additional browser plug-ins to function properly. Instead of creating a unique shopping experience, in many cases the sites just frustrate shoppers.

According to the Forrester Research study, affluent online shoppers don't want to be dazzled. Instead, they want convenience, confidence and control when shopping online. They want the convenience of easy product research, purchases and returns. They want to have confidence in the e-store they buy from and in the brand they buy. And they want control over the shopping experience through easy access to quality customer service and personal information protection.

If you want your e-store to appeal to affluent shoppers, here are a few tips:

  • Make shopping simple. Provide a smart search engine so shoppers can quickly find what they're looking for.
  • Make it simple for shoppers to research products. Provide as much information as you can about each product and link to other helpful resources.
  • Simplify the purchase and return processes.
  • Clearly communicate the total cost of the purchase before asking for payment information.
  • Build confidence in your store and brand names.
  • Provide quality customer service.
  • Protect your customers' personal information. Post a privacy policy on your site to reassure shoppers.
Essentially, affluent online shoppers want the same things every other online shopper wants. Good customer service, a site that works well but still looks good, brands that inspire confidence and a commitment to customer privacy are all necessary to make your e-store appealing to all types of customers.

- by Julia M. Duncan