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Strategy

See now, buy now: the new luxury business model (Episode 1)

The “see now, buy now” trend reflects the desire for immediacy that animates young luxury customers. It’s a revolution based on complex psychological mechanisms, it plays out on social media platforms and has been boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luxury Tribune takes a deep dive into this new shopping experience. Here’s episode one of four.

Fabio Bonavita

By Fabio Bonavita29 décembre 2020

Numbers don’t lie. According to a study conducted by Lifestyle Monitor, 74% of Millennials buy their clothes online, and Bain&Company indicates that by 2025 the majority of all luxury products will be bought through online channels. And it’s worth noting that these figures predate the COVID-19 pandemic – since last spring, courtesy of widespread lockdowns, the trend has accelerated even further. This shift has been accompanied by another major change: for top-of-the-line brands, selling on traditional e-commerce sites is no longer enough. Now, it’s all about one-click shopping.

The “see now, buy now” trend was born on the catwalks. (Unsplash)

Mixed results

The one-click approach is what has lifted the online giant Amazon above all its competitors, which should speak to its effectiveness. But the luxury industry is not a bookstore, and so far the results in that segment have been mixed. Because, in fact, the “see now, buy now” strategy is nothing new: as early as 2014, Jeremy Scott's collections for Moschino went on sale on the brand's website the day after the show. That quickly led other brands to give it try, from Burberry to Alexander Wang or Dolce & Gabbana, with varying degrees of success.

Instagram is the best social media platform for one-click shopping. (Unsplash)

The impact of social networks

One-click shopping makes buying easier and even encourages more emotional, impulse purchases

Reto Hofstetter, Professor of Digital Marketing at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Lucerne

Over the years, the notion of immediacy has evolved, most notably by shifting to social media – Instagram in particular. But that also sounded the death knell for the aura of mystery and exclusivity of the luxury industry. The time has come for a closer connection with customers: brands now rely on their will to belong to a community and on data to better know their targets. This new interaction also allows brands to use Instagram as a sales platform in its own right. Reto Hofstetter, Professor of Digital Marketing at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the University of Lucerne, says, “One-click shopping is very convenient for consumers because they only have to provide their payment information once. Amazon has already benefited enormously from this practice in the past, and it would appear likely that other e-merchants, including luxury brands, could follow suit. Hedonic purchases are the most likely successes here, as one-click shopping makes buying easier and even encourages more emotional, impulse purchases.”

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated online luxury purchases. (Unsplash)

Between shopping compulsion and frustration

While responding to the consumer’s desire to be wearing a brand’s latest creations the moment it hits the catwalk, one-click shopping also entails significant risks. Brands need to keep in mind that the online channel relies on complex psychological mechanisms ranging from compulsive shopping disorder to external frustrations. And let’s not forget that its effectiveness for the luxury industry remains to be proven ...

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