I read an interesting article in MarketingDaily about how millionaires shop, based on research conducted by Google. John McAteer, Google’s retail director, gave some great insights into what the results mean to retailers – something that’s top of mind for us here at Bazaarvoice.
In general, the study found, millionaires value time as much as they value money – the biggest misconception people have about the wealthy is that they are idle. Instead, when they shop, they devour as much information as they can to make the best purchasing decision so they don’t waste time on the “wrong” products.
Their lack of time means they usually use the Internet. High-end stores spend a lot of money to create a great in-store experience, but 94% of the millionaires polled said they made a luxury purchase online in the past six months, and 56% of them actually prefer shopping online to shopping in a store.
They also rely strongly on the Internet when deciding what to buy: those polled said the Internet is the leading influence, with 82% of respondents saying they use it. Word-of-mouth comes in second, with 78%, and magazines next, at 68%.
Millionaires read online reviews: just over 90% of millionaires say they always or often read other customers’ reviews online, in their quest for the “real” story about products. Compare this higher stat to Jupiter and Forrester studies which report just over 70% of average consumers seek reviews before buying.
In short, millionaires shop and compare for several of traits while shopping, so it’s critical that luxury retailers include as much product information as possible online. Customer-generated reviews and Q&A enhance this, and is trusted among the very wealthy.
This research is especially interesting as we hear from more and more luxury brands who are initially reticent about sharing customer reviews online. We have helped several luxury retailers go live with reviews and seen their customers enthusiastically rave about their quality products, helps underscore the importance of customer input – no matter what type of customer you’re trying to attract.