Saks, Ralph Lauren lure customers with upscale services
The combination of a slow economy and changing shopper priorities has made luxury products a tougher sell. And that’s compounded by the fact that shopping malls, where many high-end retailers and department stores are found, have been steadily waning in popularity for years. This has some luxury retailers offering services meant to extend both the in-store and offsite experience and cater to the upscale tastes of their target clientele.
Ralph Lauren in Manhattan, for instance, has been offering customers a ride home in a company-branded BMW as a perk for buying particular suits, the Associated Press reported. The retailer intends to expand the service to other stores in high-end markets.
And in some areas in the U.S. and Canada, Saks Fifth Avenue has been offering its “Saks at your service” program. The service dispatches personal shoppers to deliver custom wardrobes directly to customers’ houses, offices and hotel rooms in a Mercedes-Benz van called the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, according to 680 News. The Sprinter features, among other accessories, a jewelry safe.
Such services obviously appeal to a limited customer base, but they resemble moves other brick-and-mortar retailers have made to add on-brand experiential elements to shopping.
With luxury brands, scarcity and exclusivity is a big element of the appeal, but trying to maintain those qualities has not been easy amid increasing pressure to make everything available online.
As department store visits continuing to sink, some luxury brands have indeed been shifting their focus to e-commerce. Earlier this year, luxury handbag brands Coach and Michael Kors limited the number of their products on the shelves at the major department stores that once constituted their prime source of business.
- Luxury stores add more amenities in a tougher market – Associated Press
- Saks sees next-level service as key to winning luxury retail – 680 News
- How should luxury brands embrace the internet? – RetailWire
- Can (should) brands do without department stores? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Can luxury retailers bring shoppers back into stores with services like the ones that Ralph Lauren and Saks Fifth Avenue are offering? How might offering such services balance with the growing tendency of luxury retailers to sell online?