Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Selling Luxury Products Online: The Effect of a Quality Label on Risk Perception, Purchase Intention and Attitude toward the Brand

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Selling Luxury Products Online: The Effect of a Quality Label on Risk Perception, Purchase Intention and Attitude toward the Brand

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

E-commerce is never an easy choice for luxury marketers. Several years ago, when marketers were arguing about e-commerce for luxury brands, selling luxury products online is like tasting the apple in the Garden of Eden, alluring but perilous [Tungate, 2009; Kapferer & Bastien, 2012; Geerts, 2013]. Most luxury marketers believed that going online was not necessary for luxury brands because luxury consumers are generally older and less adventurous than regular shoppers, not willing to buy luxury products online [Tungate, 2009]. Furthermore, as an open, cheap, free and fast medium, the Internet seemed not to be compatible with luxury brands that are considered to be exclusive, elegant, expensive and timeless [Kapferer & Bastien, 2012]. However, an e-business strategy can also help to propel the brand to a status of global brand awareness. In addition, the rise of young affluents and the success of online luxury retailers like NET-A-PORTER start to attract luxury marketers to sell their products online [Tungate, 2009]. Meanwhile, the downturn of offline retail performance also pushes luxury companies to consider e-commerce [McKinsey & Company, 2015]. The Boston Consulting Group [2016] even released a report entitled "Digital or Die: The Choice for Luxury Brands". Luxury brands need to grow, and the potentialities of growth hide on the e-commerce. Ecommerce is expected to make up 18% of luxury goods sales by 2025 [McKinsey & Company, 2015]. AltagammaMcKinney Digital Experience Observatory [2015] predicts that luxury players start to move from simply exploring the e-commerce (e.g., with a reduced product range) to launching full e-shop concepts (e.g., significant investments in IT, customer support, and supply chain). Finally, they will reach a maturity period, with online sales more than 20% of brand total revenues. According to the study by Díaz, Martín-Consuegra, and Estelami [2016], 32.26 % of luxury brands offer possibilities of online shopping in 2016. In fact, luxury brands like Fendi, Armani, Gucci and Prada opened their online store one by one. Even Céline, the brand that used to be highly conservative to digital practices, surrendered to this trend. To date, Céline has announced its plans to launch e-commerce [The Fashion Law, 2017]. To capitalize on the increasing potentials of e-commerce, LVMH, the largest luxury goods conglomerate, is also going to launch its own e-commerce site soon [Agnew & Ellison, 2017].

As the online environment and luxury industry evolve, more and more scholars are optimistic about e-commerce and believe that electronic commerce can help luxury brands to grow [Hennigs, Wiedmann, & Klarmann, 2012; Okonkwo, 2010; Guercini & Runfola, 2015]. Nowadays, the research question shifts from whether luxury brands should embrace e-commerce to how luxury brands act in e-commerce. A few studies start to explore how luxury brands maintain a sense of luxury by improving the shopping experience [Beuckels & Hudders, 2016] and transferring the traditional sensory shopping experience into online shopping [Okonkwo, 2010; Kapferer & Bastien, 2012] and make use of new information technologies (e.g., personalization and targeting) to identify and track luxury consumers online and cater their needs accordingly [Okonkwo, 2010; Yu, Hudders, & Cauberghe, 2017a; Yu, Hudders, & Cauberghe, 2017b]. Findings from previous studies on retail luxury strategies are also transferred to the online context. For example, traditional luxury retail tends to adopt an aesthetically oriented strategy [Joy et al., 2014] and to build up the charismatic persona of the creative director [Dion & Arnould, 2011]. Based on these findings, researchers propose possible solutions for luxury brands to enhance the aesthetics and luxuriousness of their website/online stores.

Kluge et al., [2013] conduct a content analysis of 81 existing luxury brand homepages. The findings reveal that luxury brand homepage design differs significantly from conventional homepage design. …

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