The luxury industry has had to tread more carefully, while stepping into this new venue, so as to avoid diminishing the unattainable luxury image, even while learning how to promote the message and more sales to a larger global audience. This research plans to find out just how much the social media and technology expansion has occurred in the luxury fashion industry, such as online purchasing, and how successful it has been.
Luxury item buyers are not that much more different than the rest of the purchasing population, except that there is more money available for expenditures. What is most notable about luxury purchasing habits, is that 75 percent of purchasers in luxury items will research the products available through online store portals, before going into the store to make the purchase (Shea, 2013). In decades past, shoppers had to physically visit each store offering those desired luxury products, before narrowing it down to just a few from which to make their purchase. In fact, the visit to the store usually prompted some type of runway or showcase for the discerning customer, so as to see the apparel in action, so to speak (Bui, 2013). Today, one can go to the Burberry store, for example, and view the brand collections on a store-supplied iPad, instead of walking around the different departments to see what is available (Edwards, 2012; Cosgrave, 2015). Some purchasing habits remain the same over centuries, requiring that pre-purchase review, involving the ‘touch, smell, and see’ of the products before making that final decision (Shea, 2013).
There is no doubt that luxury clothing brands are taking advantage of the Internet, utilizing the chat function on their websites to assist with questions and help with purchasing decisions, providing videos of clothing lines, and providing a seamless process of purchasing for the customer, that makes them want to come back for more (Edwards,