Study of luxury brand digital retailing during COVID-19
Luxury brands represent an important part of the global economy, albeit one that is generally accessible only to a small proportion of the world population. Research into the world of digital retailing in this realm has always been sparse in the marketing and business literature. As such, it is difficult to visualize the norms that have changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its so-called new-normal. Work in the International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, offers a qualitative study that hopes to provide some insights into the world of luxury brands.
Giuseppe Colella and Cesare Amatulli of the Ionian Department in Mediterranean Legal and Economic Systems: Society, Environment, Culture at the University of Bari "Aldo Moro" in Taranto, Italy, point out that several earlier studies focused on the role that digital technologies have played in the communication surrounding luxury brands but have not widely investigated the digital retail distribution strategies of those providing luxury brands.
The researchers explain that despite the rapid advent of the internet and the current accessibility of social media and other such tools, many luxury goods companies have been hesitant in adopting strategic online distribution and sales systems. The perceived fear is that in the digital world they may not be able to ensure the quality, exclusivity and tradition, that are commonly associated with their luxury brands. They add that luxury brands must strengthen their relationships with digital retail channels so that they can provide a new kind of shopping experience for consumers of luxury goods and attain and maintain their dominant positions in the market.
The team has used a qualitative and exploratory approach with semi-structured one-to-one interviews with experts from a leading digital marketing company in order to develop some initial insights and offer markers for which avenues future research in this area might follow.
"Given the current global economic scenario, battered as it is by the COVID-19 pandemic, luxury industry leaders must be committed to longer-term strategic planning," the team writes. "In this sense, e-commerce could be a crucial channel for maintaining sales, communicating with consumers, and driving new consumer activation." They add that "digital marketing could help boost online sales, on the one hand, while enticing consumers to discover and visit stores once they reopen, on the other."