As luxury real estate marketing professional it is important not to underestimate the extent to which high net worth consumers enjoy shopping and searching online. Think of ways to surprise and delight these consumers on your website and you will win more clients. Here is an example of how a fine jewelry firm “thinks outside the jewelry box” when courting big spenders.

Luxury goods have been reluctant to join e-commerce, because Internet shopping has been associated with bargain hunters and discount goods. The high end goods market has been cautious in exhibiting their valuables online, feeling that no one would buy a very expensive piece of jewelry without physically seeing it. Here is an example of someone who challenged this assumption.

In September of 2007, the House of Boucheron, a worldwide leader in the High jewelry market, unveiled their European e-commerce site. Unlike other jewelry stores that have some of their products on sale online, they decided to differentiate themselves by displaying their entire collection of jewelry online. Every item in the store is online.

Their forward looking CEO, Jean Christophe Bedos, understood that high net worth consumers are, indeed, willing to spend online. He also realized that, for these shoppers, time is luxury and they can shop online 24/7. The success experienced in the first year, led them to launch their US site in September of 2008. Another differentiator is that you can custom design a jewelry piece such as a ring online by clicking and dragging different stones into the ring setting. That way you can immediately see if the result is pleasing.

Their online clientele did buy the high end pieces while the traffic in their retail stores increased. Often, clients would come in with their computer printouts of an item they wanted to see or try on. Some of them bought them in the store, while others chose to return home and purchase it online.

Here is what Mr. Bedos feels he has learned from this online venture. He feels that you cannot be prejudiced towards a consumer’s behavior, and that the internet shatters prejudices. When marketing is approached by segmenting a clientele (by income level in this case), it breaks down because he feels, each individual is a marketing entity.

This is part of an ongoing series about luxury real estate personal branding. Get Fluent. Get Affluent! Subscribe to The Language of Luxury by Email or RSS Feed. Comments? Please use form in left column