We are seeing more and more luxury brands selling their products to the mainstream market. It can be very challenging and risky for these retailers to try to appeal to the mass market without distancing themselves from their core customer base. A new study by Nielson has divided luxury shoppers into five distinct segments. The study looks at how these groups perceive luxury and their purchasing behavior. Three of the segments value luxury and make luxury retail purchases. The other two value and aspire to buy luxury items, but are less likely to actually make the purchases. The report also maps the segments geographically across the US. “To be successful, luxury brands must align with the ever-changing meaning of the word luxury, as well as with consumer perceptions of luxury and necessity to successfully position their goods in the marketplace.” The Luxury Retail Landscape Report can be downloaded for free. (neilson)

Shoppers would rather be called a “customer” or a “guest” and not a “consumer”. Being labeled a “consumer” leaves them feeling unvalued. Retailers can personalize their communication through social media and other customer feedback strategies to make their customers feel like people rather than consumers. A study by Aberdeen Group shows that companies that engage customers see better business outcomes, including a 55% increase in annual revenues and 30% higher customer retention. (The Guardian)

Marcello Messina gives great examples of how to create an extraordinary multichannel customer experience in a luxury department store. He explains how consumer behavior is changing since shoppers can now switch between many channels in a single transaction. A consistent communication to customers across all channels, both online and off-line, from the beginning of the engagement up to the end is strategic. (Marcello Messina via Linkedin)