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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The present manuscript contributes to the current practice and research on marketing luxury goods in three major ways: first, the manuscript conceptually examines the specificities of marketing luxury goods in terms of product management, pricing, communication, and distribution management (RQ1). Second, the manuscript conceptually examines the benefits and concerns about marketing luxury goods online and how the marketing-mix for luxury goods can be adapted to the possibilities provided by the Internet (RQ2). Third, the manuscript advances the on-going debate about the suitability of the Internet as a channel of distribution for luxury goods by empirically testing the effects of selling luxury goods online on consumer perceived scarcity, brand desirability, convenience, and willingness-to-buy (RQ3). Throughout the following chapters we discuss major conceptual and empirical findings, identify limitations and directions for future research and derive implications for managerial practice.
9.1 Conceptual findings
9.1.1 Specificities of marketing luxury goods
Traditional marketing practices do not equally apply to luxury goods. The marketing of luxury goods necessitates a delicate balance between growing sales and profit on the one hand and preserving the brand’s fragile image of being hard-to-get on the other (Kastanakis & Balabanis, 2012, p. 1399; Keller, 2009, p. 293; Wetlaufer, 2001, p. 121). In order to create and preserve consumer perceived scarcity and desirability marketing luxury goods requires specific procedures that may be counterintuitive to conventional marketing approaches (Kapferer & Bastien, 2009a, p. 61). Identifying the specificities of marketing...
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