The pandemic is having a catastrophic effect on the economy worldwide. Retail heavyweights like John Lewis are counting the cost and slashing jobs, while independent brick and mortar retailers are struggling to survive.
But for e-commerce, it’s been a different story. According to a new report from Adobe, online spending in May 2020 reached $82.5 billion (approximately £64.9 billion). Year-on-year, this is an increase of 77%. This kind of e-commerce growth shows an acceleration between four and six times the level of growth pre-pandemic.
How COVID-19 is changing the future of luxury e-commerce
So, what does COVID-19 mean for luxury e-commerce? Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures. At LuxDeco we’ve seized the opportunity of the pandemic to support independent brands, small businesses and the luxury artisans we know and love.
Disruption has always been our watchword, and by using our platform to meet changing customer, client and partner needs, we’re leading the charge for luxury e-commerce as the sector finds its way through the pandemic. Arguably luxury platforms have a harder battle than general online retailers. After all, our raison d’etre is to offer a curated collection of luxe interior products – we’re not supplying food and vital services.
Luxury e-commerce platforms must reflect the seismic change the pandemic has wrought on retail. By further optimising the UI, ramping up omnichannel capabilities and switching focus, the sector can and will prove its worth as a sector that people want – and need.
Take stock, change strategy and find the balance
We’re now out of lockdown for the most part in the UK, but it’s still the ideal time for luxury brands to take stock. Changing strategies now could pay off as we learn what living with the pandemic long-term looks like. Unemployment levels are rising, major brands and businesses are laying off staff. People are spending less and waiting for signs that the economy is bouncing back.
Our goal now is to continue to drive real value for our customers. At LuxDeco, we’re unafraid to diversify, change it up and disrupt expectations of us. We’ve made it clear that we’re not about trying to push ‘business as usual’, but work with our brands, partners and consumer demands and continue to focus on a changing world.
Luxury e-commerce has a human face, and now is the time to show it. And here’s how we turned lockdown into an opportunity to reach out and connect. We’ve always been about removing barriers between big names and real people. Our Think Big Shop Small initiative was borne out of that ethos, but taking it even further. As a luxury e-commerce platform we have a direct responsibility for artisan craftspeople, creatives, small businesses and those independent names that create the luxury we curate.
Since we launched the initiative, we’ve brought small and independent brands onboard. They were struggling because of COVID-19, and they now have instant exposure to our audience of luxury-loving, independent-thinking customers who are looking for something special, unique and beautiful. Yes, we doubled our marketing spend at a time when just about every other business was reigning it in, but we’ve flipped the pandemic script for these businesses. We’re offering exclusive brand promotions for artisans that wouldn’t have had that kind of exposure, right when they needed it most.
Blend reactive changes with pro-active innovation
By blending a reactive response with pro-active innovation, LuxDeco shows how a luxury e-commerce platform can work even in the most challenging times. As well as launching new initiatives to help luxury brands, we immediately instigated no-contact delivery. We showed it’s possible to keep people safe, respond to constantly changing parameters and co-ordinate safe delivery across multiple supplies. The complexity of our supply chain did not stop us leading from the front.
Coming back to Think Big Shop Small, and the importance of maintaining the strong connection we have with our customers, we want to encourage thought about the journey of their luxury product. We’re not a click and collect service. As a luxury platform, we will never work in the same way as Amazon, but we don’t want to. Luxury e-commerce appeals to consumers who know where their piece is being made, understand the level of craftsmanship that goes into it and the time it takes. Luxury cannot be rushed, and this is what will always differentiate luxury e-commerce from mainstream retail.
We’re creating a win/win situation for our customers and the small, independent brands and artisans we champion. Since the campaign launched, they’ve had 126% more product views, and a 342% week-on-week uptick in sales. And that’s during a pandemic.
Make it easy for customers and support independents
Established brands must support small businesses, creatives and designers. This is more important than ever. Platforms like LuxDeco can save independents from going under and offer superior quality products. This is the future of luxury e-commerce. Add in a seamless omnichannel and curated customer experience and the formula works.
Luxury e-commerce platforms need to make it easy to match consumers with just what they’re looking for. Finding a balance between their brand and accessibility is key for the future of luxury e-commerce. And this is where tech is vital for success. Augmented reality, VR and AI can all be used to offer consumers the chance to see detailed products within their own environments.
The elevation of online experiences should continue to break new ground. This is the challenge for the future of luxury e-commerce platforms. The ecosystem is constantly evolving and covers every point along the customer journey. Luxury brands are not only competing against other similar companies, but against every other e-commerce player.
LuxDeco has always stood apart due to our use of data science and proprietary algorithms. with our expert curators – we aggregate and standardise product data from hundreds of partners. This enables us to present the most relevant product selection to our customers. It’s this data-driven customer experience, careful curation and support for designers, artisans and independents that will continue to lead innovation for luxury ecommerce well into the future.