The luxury consumer’s online purchasing process

Carlos Corredor

12 June 2017

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The luxury sector is traditionally associated with physical buying. Nonetheless, it’s unquestionable that the digitization of consumer habits should make manufacturers and brands react if they haven’t already done so, forcing them to update the experience of buying their products, from the initial search phases to the final ones of post-purchase and loyalty.

The customer journey in the Mexican luxury sector (in Spanish) study from Good Rebels and Forbes México investigates the relationship between brands, luxury buyers, and the digital ecosystem in Mexico, which is the second-largest luxury market in Latin America after Brazil.

The study’s results are decisive: the luxury customer journey already presents an extended digital section. While they end up buying through another channel, buyers head to the web en masse to look up information about the products that most interest them. Digital content from brands is permeable. They listen to celebrities’ opinions. Online advertising influences them. Are brands ready for this reality?

The web: what helps most at the moment of purchase?

When it’s time for the online purchase, once in front of the brand’s website:
are there differences between what a luxury consumer wants and any other type of digital consumer?

Let’s look at the website’s components that are most helpful for the luxury buyer when it’s time to purchase online.

  1. Above all, the most important (74.6%) is an intuitive and easy-to-use design. The classic maximum from Steve Krug, “Don’t make me think,” continues to be entirely valid. Brands should avoid cluttering their websites, presenting their products simply regardless of how exclusive they are.
  2. The second most-valued concept has to do with the most detailed descriptions of goods as possible: photo galleries (72.8%), texts and descriptions (55.6%), and videos and tutorials (40.7%). It’s evident that before investing a sizeable amount of money, the luxury consumer wants to check what is buying.
  3. The luxury buyer seems to demonstrate a rather independent criterion, since certain factors that would help shoppers in other categories arrive at a purchase decision are not highly valued: reviews from other consumers (45.8%) and recommendations related to other products (36%). The website’s search bar (37.1%) nor chat services and online help (30.3%) are highly demanded.

What the online luxury customer values most

As luxury purchases are associated with a series of satisfying experiences, the online purchase of these products should be linked to a pathway that is satisfactory and free of incidents.

What does the Mexican luxury consumer value most when buying online? Let’s look at the most-valued aspects of online purchases.

  1. Above all, the luxury shoppers want to be sure that they will receive the product without any problems. Knowing where their order is and when it will get into their hands (69.7%) and not having any complication with payment (67.7%) are two of the three most valued aspects of online purchasing.
  2. They also want the purchase to go through without any incidents. If the service at the brick-and-mortar store is exceptional, they expect the same in the digital transaction. That’s why a good user experience (68.8%) is the second-most valued experience when buying online.

Elements related to loyalty programs (accumulation of points, discounts, vouchers) are appreciated by less than half of luxury shoppers, which shows that the moment of purchase is more esteemed than that of post-purchase.
3. Personalized suggestions related to their previous purchases, an idea that lays the foundation for Amazon’s success, are only appreciated by 22.2% of digital luxury buyers. Maybe an element to be incorporated into local e-commerce sites in a way that increases both consumer sophistication and the need to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

The perception of digital advertising

In general, the research leaves good news for brands’ advertising and marketing departments. Far from being perceived as an annoying or intrusive elements, most Mexican luxury consumers consider different digital advertising formats (ads on websites and social media platforms, videos, email blasts, branded content, etc.) as a valuable contribution.

  • For more than half of those surveyed (55.2%), digital advertising influences in their final purchase. Besides that, for 91.8% advertising helps them become familiar with promotions and offers from bands, and for more than 85% it lets them be informed
  • The formats that get the most welcome are promotional ads on Google and rich media (interactive and audiovisual ads), which are preferred over static images.
  • On the contrary, the least-liked formats are pop-up ads and those placed before videos.
    There is a division of opinions related to traditional banner ads: 47% of those surveyed consider it to be a useful format, while the other 53% does not agree.
  • There are equally divided opinions related to promoted posts on social media platforms: 54% of those surveyed agree that they are integrated well and do not bother them, while the other 46% thinks the opposite.
  • The opposition to online advertising doesn’t stop showing up, although it is not a view shared by the majority. The percentage of consumers that install an adblocker to go online without seeing ads is 39.3%, while 60.7% of those surveyed tolerate ads. This statistic is a clear indicator for brands when it is time to choose advertising formats that are compatible with this type of software.
  • Lastly, less than half (47.5%) of luxury consumers consider that all formats are intrusive. This is another opportunity for brands to bet their advertising messaging on new forms that consumers value more.

Download the full study (in Spanish) here: The customer journey in the Mexican luxury sector