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R.E.S.P.E.C.T. LUXURY SHOPPING

Shopping for luxury products on Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Soho, Rodeo Drive or in any other high-end district should be a positive experience, not a chore. Spending your hard-earned money should not leave your feeling “fleeced” or cause “buyer’s remorse.”

Bill Lynch, the great merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue, coined the phraseSelling happiness – luxury products exist to make people happy.” Luxury products set the tone for your personal style and expression.

Sporting handbags from Hermes, Louis Vuitton, or Fendi; men’s clothing from Brioni, Isaia, or Brooks Brothers; timepieces from Patek Philippe, Rolex, or Franck Muller all contribute to your personal self expression. The process of shopping and purchasing the luxury pieces that define your style should be filled with positive memories.

Even if you are the kind of person who only has a 30 to 60 minute window of “shopping patience” (the common time commitment to shopping for most men and some women), you can still have a great experience if you R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Luxury Shopping. This means utilizing your shopping time effectively and enjoyably. This approach applies both to the “reluctant shopper” and the avid “shopaholic.”

These tips will help you get the most out of your luxury shopping experience.

Research: Do your homework on the products and brands that interest you. Of course, the Internet is a great resource but don’t forget to speak with friends, family, and acquaintances who are already enjoying the same or similar products. Think of them as “brandambassadors.” If possible, find out where they purchased the item and the name of the salesperson who served as their luxury product consultant.

When it comes to more expensive purchases, the “human touch” provided in a brick and mortar store can provide a better customer experience than online shopping. In addition, you’ll have accountability from a real person, not virtual presence, for direct assistance with any questions, problems, or future purchases.

Eat: Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach. You want to be alert, observant, and possess a small reserve of patience. Going shopping for food on an empty stomach results in buying too much food. Shopping for anything else on an empty stomach usually results in mistakes, resulting in another trip to the store for returns or exchanges.

Style: In a boutique store, the brand style is usually blatant. A successful merchant will elegantly showcase their brand. In department stores (e.g., Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, or Barney’s) and specialty stores (e.g., Richard’s or Stanley Korshak), you have an assortment of brands and merchandise to navigate through. Relax and browse focusing on the brand’s style that draws your interest and meets your needs and desire.

Prospect: Play “I Spy” and look around the shop to see which products jump out at you. Evaluate the salespeople and listen in on their conversations with other clients. Take note of their dress, selling style, and product knowledge.

Engage: The staff is there for your benefit. They will help you focus on the best merchandise for you. A good salesperson will help you find what you need. A great salesperson will be your style consultant and cultivate a partnership with you for your years to come. You have a doctor, accountant, and lawyer. Why not have a professional luxury consultant as well?

If the staff member you want to work with is busy, politely interrupt and ask for their business card to set up a future appointment or let them know you’ll continue to browse until they are free.

Commit: Before you make the decision to purchase, ask yourself the following questions: “Is this purchase going to satisfy your needs and enjoyment?” Is it the right fit for it’s purpose? For example, a bright royal blue Paul Smith sport jacket may not the best for the Deloitte accounting office on casual Friday but for a Saturday night dinner and show, it is fine.

Don’t buy clothes for your closet, buy them to live in. You take ownership of the brand and products, not the other way around. This generates the Respect we are referring to.

When making a purchase, it is always best use credit, not cash. Protect your luxury investment and earn points for future rewards.

Trust: The culmination of a successful luxury shopping experience is when you have purchased:

  1. the right product;
  2. from the right brand;
  3. with the right salesperson;
  4. and enjoyed the experience.

You’ll then gain the confidence and trust level to shop again with pleasure.

Frank Swinand 

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