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Marketing Luxury Goods Online

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Philipp Nikolaus Kluge

The marketing of luxury goods faces a fundamental challenge: balancing sales growth against exclusiveness. In today’s digital world, this trade-off has become even more challenging. A luxury brand’s fragile concept of exclusiveness is seemingly incompatible with the ubiquitous availability provided by the mass medium Internet. The author addresses this trade-off both conceptually and empirically. First, the author conceptually examines the specific marketing-mix for luxury goods in terms of product, price, communications, and distribution management. Second, this marketing-mix is applied to the online environment. Third, the author empirically tests the effects of the online accessibility of luxury goods on consumer perceptions of scarcity and desirability.

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5. Expert Interviews – Online Distribution

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5.  Expert Interviews – Online Distribution

The issue of selling luxury goods online has been controversially discussed both in business press (Chapter 1.1) and literature (Chapter 4.5). To identify the current state of the managerial discussion on the online distribution challenge for luxury goods we conducted a series of individual interviews with luxury industry experts from July to September 2013. The purpose of this pre-study is twofold: first, re-confirming the managerial relevance of the research question before actually testing it using experimental studies with luxury consumers. More specifically, expert interviews help identify whether selling luxury goods online has become common practice or whether it is still controversially discussed among luxury industry experts and thus represents a relevant subject for further research. Second, expert interviews help identify managerial approaches to preserve consumer perceptions of brand luxury within the ubiquitous mass medium Internet.

Individual interviews represent a qualitative research technique of exploring fundamental dimensions and elements of a research topic through an open, oral, and usually personal one-to-one dialogue (Berekhoven, Eckert, & Ellenrieder, 2009, p. 89). Rather than confronting the participant with a standardized set of questions and answer options as done with surveys, the interviewer acts as a rather passive but interested listener leaving room for the interviewee’s own thoughts and focus on particular issues (Kepper, 2008, p. 181). Still, interviewers usually guide the dialogue to some extent using a semi-structured interview guideline (as opposed to a fully-structured guideline in surveys; Homburg & Krohmer,...

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