The jewelry houses of Faberge and Louis Vuitton are proceeding in due course through the current recession, each using a unique marketing strategy to guide their direction.
During flush economic times luxury retailers can rely on a strong aspirational consumer base eager to scoop up logo-clad products. Today, however, as that market dries up and cash-strapped consumers guard their wallets and eschew conspicuous consumption, luxury brands are shifting their focus to a different type of customer: wealthy individuals.
To attract affluent shoppers luxury market retailers have had to meld their brand experiences to satisfy the expectations of this exclusive demographic. Brandchannel’s Sara Zucker wrote about the evolving paradigm in November, finding that affluent consumers now look for “quality and service, which they consider hard to find in luxury goods.”
Faberge, returning to retail after 90-years in retirement, is sold exclusively, with the exception of one shop in Geneva, online. The low-overhead strategy appears to be a perfect solution for consumers seeking to hide their lavish purchases. The online store is open 24/7 and customers can discreetly purchases baubles, starting at $30,000, from the comfort of their own home. Faberge counters the cold interface of e-commerce with the ready assistance of around the clock support, available via phone or email.
Mark Dunhill, chief executive officer of Fabergé, believes the strategy is most opportune for the moment.
“During times of economic uncertainly [sic] real luxury comes back …there is a tendency to approach special purchases in a more discerning and discreet manner.”
Louis Vuitton has been more boisterous, launching their exquisite jewelry line during the brands spring ready-to-wear collection in Paris. Vuitton brings value and heritage to the line with the recruitment of veteran jeweler Lorenz Bäumer and by incorporating the brand's identity throughout the collection, using Vuitton’s insignia and color motif in designs.
Maintaining brand identity, focusing on quality and customer service, and limiting production are now the hallmarks of success in the luxury market. With a diminished consumer base, luxury brands can still dazzle with excess, but must remain focused on their core principles.