Luxury brands ‘let down by digital experience’

New research has revealed that 40 per cent of luxury shoppers still prefer to start their journey in-store, but 39 per cent are now using mobile phones to shop and 29 per cent are using a retailer or brand’s app.

This is according to a survey of 3,000 luxury shoppers - defined as respondents who had browsed or purchased what they perceived as a luxury item within the last three months - from the UK, France and United Arab Emirates (UAE), commissioned by e-commerce search provider Attraqt.

When asked what they saw as essential for their shopping experience, being able to easily find new products was cited as the most important factor for a quarter of shoppers. Discovering new style trends, having the ability to virtually ‘try on’ new style trends and receiving expert product and trend advice exceeding what is available on the website, came second with 15 per cent, while detailed knowledge of previous shopping habits came in third with 14 per cent.

The biggest influencers on purchasing a luxury item were online reviews with 29 per cent, closely followed by celebrity trends with 28 per cent. A brand’s own content online and visual merchandising in-store both secured 26 per cent apiece, while Instagram influencers were cited by 24 per cent of respondents.

When browsing online for luxury goods, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of shoppers said websites and apps force them to search through too many menus and tabs. More than a fifth of luxury shoppers said that they can’t access the intricate product detail and imagery they need to convert to a sale, while irrelevant search results were an annoyance for 16 per cent, followed by impersonal or irrelevant recommendations (13 per cent).

Looking specifically at younger Millennial and Generation Z age groups, 65 per cent were more likely to start their buying journey online – 10 per cent more than the general population. Social media plays an important role in attracting this age group to start their shopping journey – 17 per cent more likely than the general population.

Meanwhile, 91 per cent of this group were willing to shop around before hitting the buy button, meaning that achieving brand loyalty is increasingly difficult amongst these shoppers.

Jon Stephens, director of customer experience at Attraqt, commented: “By 2025 market predictions are that Millennials and Generation Z will account for a huge 45 per cent of the global personal luxury goods sector.

“With that in mind, plus a fragmented market, disjointed customer journeys and diminished loyalty, it’s clear from our research that luxury brands need to think of digital channels as more than just a source of brand inspiration.”

Stephens added: “Luxury brands must act now to ensure that they evolve product inspiration and discovery into something a bit less stuffy, and much more immersive,as well as personal and frictionless across all channels.”

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