August 1, 2013, 11:46 AM

Want to satisfy luxury shoppers? Think mobile, not price

ForeSee also suggests more attention to web site functionality.

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As attention turns to the holiday shopping season, retailers that sell luxury goods online might want to pay more attention to mobile than to price in their quest to satisfy consumers.

Mobile technology “is going to play an increasing role for luxury consumers,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee, a company that measures customer satisfaction with web retailers.

He also says that while luxury brands generally trail in adopting e-commerce innovations other web merchants use to satisfy consumers, they have made strides to narrow that gap—as suggested by the scores in the company’s Luxury E-Retail Satisfaction Index, released earlier this year. On a 100-point scale, luxury brands achieved 77 points, compared with 78 for the Top 100 online retailers as measured by sales volume. The findings are based on more than 3,500 survey responses from consumers visiting luxury brands’ e-commerce sites.

Freed says a focus by online luxury retailers on price is misguided, in large part because the consumers who complain about the price of luxury goods are unlikely to be satisfied by, say, a 5% reduction in the price of a high-end watch. ForeSee’s research shows that less than half, or 41%, of online luxury shoppers refrained from a purchase because of a high price.

ForeSee goes on to say that, rather than worrying about price reductions to capture such shoppers, luxury e-retailers should focus on the basics of the online shopping experience. Its research indicates that 71% of luxury e-retailers might gain more sales by improving their merchandising, and 43% could benefit from improving site functionality. could include, for instance, balancing the needs of celebrating the brand—all those image-rich pages featuring great-looking models—with shopping tools like wish lists and one-click ordering that at least roughly echo what shoppers have come to expect from Amazon.com Inc., whose customer satisfaction score beat all luxury brands in the report.  Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Amazon scored 88 in the ForeSee survey.

Mobile, too, seems a prime area where luxury e-retailers can focus on improving customer satisfaction. That’s because 56% of luxury shoppers used their mobile devices to research products, ForeSee says, compared with 40% who did so to shop with the Top 100 retailers.  25% of luxury shoppers used their devices to buy products, compared with 16% for the other shoppers.

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