Luxury brands don’t prefer online retail; deep discounts affect their brand image

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Everyone wants to outdo the other in the ecommerce space. While most prefer to flock with the rest and offer deep discounts to attract maximum customers, luxury brands prefer to uphold brand image without compromising to get into the ecommerce space.

Brands like Celio, Zegna and Swarovski set forward their own terms without falling into the pressures of joining the ecommerce race. Swarovski has launched its latest product ‘Create Your Style’ in India through Jabong. The collection offers jewellery kits to allow women to create and flaunt their own style statements.

“We should be in a position to control our prices so there will be no third-party sites. There are plans to start online transactions under our own site like we do worldwide, but there will be no discounts. Prices will be similar to our brick-and-mortar outlets,” says Sukanya Dutta Roy, MD, Consumer Goods Business, Swarovski India.

Why luxury brands don’t want to be on ecommerce portals?

A thought shared by many, Swarovski wants to uphold its brand image and not be seen as a discounted brand, the risk of which is there if its presence is more elaborate on pure-play ecommerce sites.

Another biggie, Reliance Brands, also does not want to sell its luxury brands, like Timberland, Diesel, Ermengildo Zegna and Paul & Shark, on third-party sites. “Mainstream consumers do not shop from luxury sites. We have limited e-commerce operations to just two of our brands like Quicksilver and Steve Madden. We have not yet taken a decision to bring the rest of our portfolio of brands on the e-commerce platform” says Darshan Mehta, CEO, Reliance Brands.

Also, they don’t like to be treated as commodities considering their products belong to the premium category and are meant to be on a different level than just commodities.

But some International brands sell through ecommerce portals

They have to opt for this route due to the stringent FDI regulations applicable to retail. “We resort to third-party online sites to sell some of our products. We have to be FDI approved to start our own e-commerce operations,” explains Rajiv Nair, CEO, Celio Future Fashions. “Ideally, we would like to bring down discounts to a minimum. Once we have our own site, it will reflect the prices are offered at our brick-and-mortar stores,” he said.

Most of the brands and retailers take the online route to get sales volumes. But in the case of luxury brands, products are more about the experience and feel, and retailers like to maintain uniform pricing across offline and online channels.

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