The Business of Selling Luxury Online

There was an article in yesterday’s NYTimes on how some luxury companies are rethinking their plans for online retailing:

In the genteel world of luxury, companies long felt that the Web was no place for merchandising exclusive products. And there was a gentlemen’s agreement with department stores not to siphon sales by reaching out directly to wealthy customers.

Then, in came the recession, and out went the niceties. Department stores slashed prices on $1,200 handbags, while luxury lines fretted about losing their exclusivity. Now, come September, marcjacobs.com is going retail, 10 years after most brands opened Web showrooms.

Selling high end goods online no longer carries the same negative connotation it was once had and companies can be successful if they’re smart about it. Third party companies such as Gilt and Yoox will also become much larger players in this area, and I would expect that we’ll soon see more designers working directly with them to use their existing platforms instead of rolling out their own.

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