Digital meets designer: Getting it right

By Luke Griffiths, General Manager at Klarna UK

New technology has without a doubt transformed the retail industry, with most high street retailers today offering a sophisticated online experience. Unfortunately, however, the luxury retail sector has been slower in the adoption of online— resulting in significant lost revenue.

Many luxury brands have shied away from ecommerce, fearing online retailing would dilute a luxury brand’s image and reduce the sense of exclusivity. Shoppers are noticing this and recent research from Klarna suggests that almost half of high-end shoppers feel they cannot get the same luxury experience online as in-store.

This doesn’t need to be the case. So, what can high-end retailers do to turn the tide?

Embrace technology

Fashion shoppers are increasingly mixing high-end with high street to create an individual look. The high-low effect means consumers are accustomed to the advanced online user experience that many high street brands deliver. Now high-end consumers are valuing tech over tradition, with 51% wanting the luxury brands they shop with to be up-to-date and innovative. Luxury retailers should place more emphasis on leveraging the technologies currently available to streamline the online customer experience — from browsing to purchase and even delivery and returns.

In a world where more shopping is conducted not only online, but on mobile and apps, it’s important to get ecommerce exactly right. The key to this is listening to what shoppers want and being able to adapt quickly, keeping pace with new technologies such as online sizing predictors, payment options and recommended items.

Flexible financing

It’s no longer sufficient to provide customers with one single way of paying. It’s all about choice, and offering flexible payment options at checkout is particularly important – especially where the purchase cost for an item is relatively high.

In fact, according to Klarna’s research, 51% of luxury shoppers say they would be more likely to buy luxury products online if retailers gave them the option to pay for the item after it was delivered – allowing them to try it on. Naturally, the stakes are higher in luxury, so it stands to reason that consumers want to be sure they’re making the right choice with an item. Additionally, 46% said they would buy more luxury items if retailers gave them the option to pay in instalments. With online consumer finance, retailers can make the aspirational achievable, and boost shopper purchasing power.

It’s clear that online is no longer optional in luxury retail. Getting digital right in a luxury environment isn’t easy, but it does represent a huge revenue opportunity for high-end brands. An approach that is light on friction and prioritises innovation will help drive engagement and prevent competitors from taking the lead.

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