How To Appeal to the Luxury Retail Customer

By Bob Phibbs

how to appeal luxury retail customerHow can a retailer immediately tell potential luxury or premium customers that their retail store is a cut above? It comes down to your attention to details.

Attention to detail begins with designing the retail space to accommodate the world's most discerning customers. As a retailer providing luxury sales and superior service, your store is your opportunity to not only present upscale clothing lines, jewelry, or home furnishings, but to do so in a way that evokes the essence of the lifestyle your customers are either accustomed to, or aspire to.

According to the Globe, "These customers aren’t necessarily merchants’ wealthiest shoppers, but rather their most valued ones: Those who, for the sake of convenience or product choice, often pay full price rather than wait for a sale. They make up just 30 per cent of consumers, but generate about 50 per cent of retail sales and 70 per cent of gross profit margins."

Let me repeat that, 70% of gross profit margins...

Creating a successful luxury sales environment requires a carefully crafted strategy incorporating cutting-edge style, an elegant and understated atmosphere, and excellent retail sales and customer service.

Your clientele should enjoy a seemingly effortless yet completely fulfilling shopping experience. Use the following tips to ensure your customers enjoy an exceptional shopping experience when they next visit your shop.

Create An Elegant and Eco-Friendly Interior

Many of the top brands are embracing the current green and organic movement with their choice of interior design color, textures, and store fixtures. Green, steel, glass and wood are found throughout today's luxury retail sales environment.

When Prada opened their Kiev store they included a palette of natural greens for wall colors and furniture fabric choices. This contrasted with the steel and glass display cases, the marble and mirrors that deliver the trademark glamor of the Prada name.

Salvatore Ferragamo’s Fifth Avenue location that is synonymous with high-end sales was recently renovated and reopened this past spring. The wood framed clothing racks, glass shelving, and taupe walls provide a backdrop for the punchy hits of color displayed in their clothing. The recessed lighting, hardwood floors, taupe walls and sand-colored floor coverings keep the interior light and airy.

Capture an elegant version of the green trend by choosing paint and accent colors in keeping with nature when redecorating your own retail space. Selecting natural floor finishes and textures for simple pieces of furniture and introduce glass and metal shelving for a fresh, modern look.

Make the Atmosphere Simple and Serene To Make Luxury Selling Seem Effortless

A key ingredient in developing a luxury sales environment is an atmosphere that is peaceful, soothing, and far removed from the high-pressure and hectic sales floors so common in mass merchants and big box stores. Some tips for your luxury sales makeover include:

  • Keep it simple. Choose quality furniture with simple, clean lines incorporating natural materials and steel.
  • Keep it open. Design inventory layout and displays to create a spacious feeling.
  • Keep it about the merchandise. Use discreet price tags and small, carefully lettered signs that have personality.
  • Keep it subdued. Play soothing music or female jazz vocalists as background music.
  • Keep it lit. While allowing in natural lighting is best, use enough energy efficient lighting to highlight special features or items.
View some interesting luxury sales environments from retailers across the globe here.

Know Your Luxury Buyer Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The luxury sales market is ahead of their mainstream counterparts in terms of customer relationship management. While other retailers struggle to learn about relationship marketing, upscale and luxury businesses have long been aware that building long-term relationships with clients is a mutually-beneficial endeavor.

Today's technology and CRM software combine to give sales teams the tools required to create the right environment for luxury sales. By giving your salespeople immediate access to information provided by a CRM program allows them to create a unique and personalized level of customer service. This tool goes far beyond the old index card system of writing down their sizes and birthday that I used thirty+ years ago.

While you can find iPads in many stores, to create an exceptional sales experience, have your team use the iPads to scan and record customer details, social media handles and retrieve data from previous visits.

As entrepreneurs in the business of luxury sales, you must know your target audience well. Cater to their desire to participate in a full experience rather than the simple transaction of a purchase.

With an up-to-date store design, a serene atmosphere, and attentive salespeople, your luxury sales success is sure to follow.

See also, A Common Retail Sales Mistake When Selling To The Luxury Customer

In Sum

To appeal to the luxury customer:

  • Keep the interior light and airy.
  • Display only a few items in your store windows.
  • Think environment over product.
  • Use a subdued color palette.
  • Invest in CRM software to truly know your customers.

The important thing for any retailer to understand is the more cluttered the store, the more garish the colors, the more price discounts and the more merchandise, the more they look like a mass merchant and the harder for the merchandise to truly stand out. And if you aren't using a good CRM tool, know a competitor probably is to contact your customers in a meaningful way.

Use these tips to make your store more luxury-oriented with products that can’t be found everywhere and with service that can sell the premium merchandise.

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