Thursday, November 25, 2010

Satisfy Desires for Luxury

Want to add a splash of elegance to that degrading U.S. Transportation Security Administration pat-down? How about ordering the Travel Sock from fashion designer and boutique retailer Tory Burch? The catalog copy says the product will “…make taking off your shoes for those long airport security lines more stylish.”
     The Travel Sock is listed at $48. This does buy you one sock for each foot, however, in spite of the singular in the product name. At the National Retail Federation conference in New York City last January, Ms. Burch announced her intention to add the Travel Sock to her product line this year. She predicted that 2010 would see a substantial uptick in high-end sales.
     The prediction appears to have come true, according to a report in Advertising Age this week. For example, in the beauty products segment, Estee Lauder reports a 14% jump in sales of organic beauty products quarter-to-quarter. By comparison, mass market beauty products from Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever came in with a 6% climb. A 6% climb in sales is fine news—indicating that consumers are feeling more optimistic and spending beyond bare necessities. Still 14% is substantially higher than 6%—indicating luxury has a special appeal.
     In deciding how your merchandising can appeal to the luxury segment, consider the different meanings that indulging in luxury carries for shoppers. Some years ago, SRI Consulting Business Intelligence identified a set of major motivations. Here’s an update of that list:
  • Luxury as show. Be sure the luxury brand name is conspicuously displayed whenever the item is used in public. Each Travel Sock has an easily visible Tory Burch logo.
  • Luxury as a password. When the consumer already belongs to an exclusive group, they’ll be looking for more subtle cues—what corresponds to the secret handshake that allows members to recognize each other while not tipping off the outsiders. This was a lesson learned some years back by Lacoste, which discovered that their crocodile logo stopped portraying as much status if it was displayed too prominently.
  • Luxury as functional. Your shopper pays more in order to guarantee lasting value. The Travel Sock is 100% wool and comes with a sturdy carrying bag.
  • Luxury as celebration. The Advertising Age article connects an increase in luxury orientation to survey evidence of celebration at the Republican midterm election gains.
Click below for more:
Stay Ready to Sell Luxury
Offer Aspirational Shoppers Subtle Signals
Use Terror Management Theory for Status Items

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