Luxury brands typically live on fashion’s cutting edge, but many have remained determinedly retro when it comes to e-commerce.

Luxury brands typically live on fashion’s cutting edge, but many have remained determinedly retro when it comes to e-commerce. Prada, Chanel, Dior and LMVH’s Celine are just a few of the high-fashion names that still mostly eschew online retail, as Businessweek recently reported, believing that the in-store, tactile experience is integral to their brands. That attitude may be changing, in part driven by concerns about showrooming as upscale department stores and online sellers perfect the art of Internet retailing, and as more luxury shoppers get accustomed to buying online. McKinsey reports that “While pure online transactions represent only about 4 percent of the total luxury goods market, they’re growing twice as fast as the sector as a whole.” 

Designer Tom Ford recently began selling $2,990 messenger bags, $3,080 briefcases, and $1,790 ankle boots on TomFord.com, and plans to add his ready-to-wear line. DSquared2 now attributes 10 percent of sales to online purchases, well over the industry average, according to The Wall Street Journal. Burberry, the luxury fashion brand most closely associated with tech savvy, now allows customers to pick up online purchases at its retail locations. One solution for luxury brands is services like LiveLux, which pair personal service with the ease of online shopping. While the brick-and-mortar experience will always be integral to luxury shopping, as more consumers look to buy anything and everything online, all high-end brands will need to make those transactions possible or lose sales to those that do.

Image credit: Tom Ford