Friday, 24 September 2010

Luxury Brands Resist Selling Online 24/9/10

Luxury brands are usually at the forefront of all things cutting edge. So why have they been so reluctant to embrace online shopping? Perhaps they are learning from the success of others such as Net-a-porter and shopbop, because it seems some brands are slowly but surely coming around. This week, Marc Jacobs ventured into online retailing, last month Prada made a quantum leap by offering accessories. Stubbornly, not clothes.

It seems that consumer demand and fashion-house pride are engaged in a headlock. The almighty Internet could certainly serve luxury brands, used correctly. But perhaps it asks in return, for something they are not willing to give: their status. It makes sense for the online marketplace to be seen to undermine the aura that surrounds luxury brands. The commodification of luxury is something these brands desperately try to avoid. Will Prada still be ‘Prada’ when it arrives in a box on the front door? Of course. But the in-store ritual is half the experience. Despite the obvious convenience, there is something clinical about online purchases. In the same shopping session, one may as well order vacuum bags.

Nonetheless, the reality is that there is one luxury no amount of money can buy, that no brand nor legacy will ever supersede. Time. Consumers are strapped for time, and luxury brands perhaps must recognise this if they want to maintain their loyal followings. This is not to say that the Internet will ever take over entirely, but online is an option young markets are increasingly refusing to go without. It seems the time has come for luxury brands to shape up, and ship out.

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Who's behind the MO DOWN

Melinda O’Rourke is the founder and Director of MO Luxury, a dynamic, Sydney-based management firm specialising in luxury brands and services. Melinda and her associates at MO work with local and international brands across prestige retail, fashion, fine jewellery, timepieces and specialised services. Melinda is well-connected, well-read, and well-versed in the demands of the luxury market and its client base. Her advice is firmly based in objectivity and ultimately, accountability. Melinda offers constructive counsel and both strategic and creative thinking and is able to draw upon a strong network of specialised talent to compliment the MO Luxury team as needed. Melinda enjoys excellent industry relationships and is regularly quoted in the business and fashion media. Read more about MO Luxury,