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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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8. Experiment 2 – Online Accessibility and Price Display

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8.  Experiment 2 – Online Accessibility and Price Display

Results of experiment 1 provide a first indication that selling luxury goods online does not dilute a luxury brand’s fragile image of exclusiveness. This “no-dilution” finding contradicts the concerns raised in previous conceptual work (e.g., Kapferer & Bastien, 2012, p. 249; Seringhaus, 2005, p. 15; see Chapters 4.5.1). Experiment 2 is designed to (1) replicate the effects of online accessibility and (2) additionally test for effects of price display, which was controlled for in experiment 1. We conduct another experimental study using a 2 (online accessibility: yes vs. no) by 2 (price display: yes vs. no) randomized between-subject design. The factor online accessibility was reduced from four to two levels since the four levels did not prove to cause significant differences (see Chapter 7.2.2.1). Hence, participants in experiment 2 are confronted with either the possibility to shop online or not and the retail price for the product shown is either displayed or not.

Price information influences consumer evaluations of brands (Dodds et al., 1991, p. 316). The price to be paid in exchange for any good or service is not only a monetary sacrifice but serves as a global indicator of the functional, experiential, and symbolic value, the good is likely to deliver (Fassnacht et al., 2013, p. 104; Völckner, 2006, p. 474). The role of price as quality indicator should become even more salient when shopping for a luxury good since consumers...

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