October 11, 2012
Brands including Armani Collezioni and Elie Tahari are targeting older affluent consumers via Halsbrook, a new ecommerce site that sells high-end apparel and accessories to the core luxury buyer.
Since many luxury brands are focusing on millennial consumers, Halsbrook is capitalizing on mature consumers who can buy high-end products at this point in their lives. The site is looking to differentiate itself from others in terms of customer service and experience.
"Online luxury brands and retailers face tough challenges about how to effectively communicate their message to a wide range of age groups on a single platform," said Halsey Meyer Schroeder, founder/CEO of Halsbrook, New York. "With bricks-and-mortar stores, you can physically divide spaces and create specialized messaging in different parts of the store.
"In the online space, everyone is arriving at the same homepage," she said. "Halsbrook is able to work around this obstacle by not trying to be everything to everyone."
Halsbrook launched three weeks ago with 38 high-end brands.
Halsbrook full site
While sites such as Net-A-Porter target all consumers in a cutting-edge, high-end fashion environment, Halsbrook is about classic, timeless pieces for both everyday and work environments. Although the target consumer is older affluent women, there are pieces for younger women as well.
The site is split into designers, clothing, accessories, handbags and occasion.
Shopping by articles of clothing
Consumers can search for a specific type of apparel or accessory or by designer.
Meanwhile, they can browse outfits based on weekend, city living, country chic, modern business, day to dinner, cocktail, cold weather, warm weather and travel.
Shopping by occasion
Users can also check out featured items and new arrivals.
Halsbrook put a personal touch on its site through a free shipping offer and live chats. Consumers are also encouraged to call at any time with questions.
The retailer is looking to market itself through Google keywords, Facebook ads, press and future events.
Many luxury brands are honing in on millennial consumers, mainly via social media and other digital efforts.
Although targeting millennials is a good way to build relationships with younger consumers who will buy luxury products in the future, many brands are neglecting true affluent consumers.
Many luxury retailers largely favor 20-somethings, but 58 percent of online apparel sales are from women 35-years-old and over, according to NPD Group.
Brands usually target millennials via social media because these customers are used to social media, but this may not be the way to get in touch with older consumers who are not as familiar with the platform.
Luxury marketers should create a marketing plan from store to online that is tailored to mature consumers and presented on media that is familiar to them to encourage ecommerce transactions among older generations.
Also, the fact that Halsbrook is offering live chat and personalized service will help to entice an older crowd.
"We pride ourselves in terrific customer service," Ms. Shroeder said. "We strive to mimic the best aspects of brick-and-mortar speciality boutiques and bring these qualities online."
Personalized email can also be used to reach the older demographic. Products that are specifically tailored to those customers may encourage clicks to the ecommerce site.
While the in-store experience remains extremely relevant, there is no question that the older generation is becoming more tech-savvy and could be an untapped demographic in terms of ecommerce sales (see story).
"Many of the luxury brands and retailers in the online space are targeting millennials because that has traditionally been where they have seen the biggest growth in sales," Ms. Schroeder said.
"Online sites are now so youth-conscious, that they are ignoring one of the more lucrative markets in need," she said. "Online retailers that are currently catering to this fully mature market have not been selling to this demographic well, hence why Halsbrook jumped on the opportunity.
"We believe the next frontier for growth will be in the 35-and-older demographics."
Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York