The incredibly wealthy can purchase some strange and interesting things these days. For billionaires, they may need such luxuries as RIMA cinema services- a service that delivers newly released movies to your home theater, the same day that they are released in public theaters. Also, crazy Art insurance that not only covers the cost of your art, but protects it from riot, fires, flood etc- by sending in a SWAT style team, helicopters and all, to fly your art from your home to a safe place.
For billionaire and celebrity mothers who are breastfeeding, there is the ‘night nanny’- a nanny who will wake the client up at regular intervals during the night, then take the baby back to their room and nurse them back to sleep. However, luxuries are not limited to services, as there is a huge market for extravagant brands and products. Many of us may see these opulent products and think ‘who can afford that?’, but with over 211,275 households worldwide reaping in more than $30m each, spending over $234 billion a year on luxury purchases, there is definitely a market for luxury brands and goods. The portion of the super-rich in society is definitely not in decline either- the number of households earning more than $50 million a year has increased from 41,000 in the year 2000 to 128,000 today.
So, how do these brands sell their goods to the super rich? When creating a high-end product, how do they ensure that the billionaires will be wanting to purchase from them? If they do not gain the ultra-rich clientele, then they will not succeed as a business. Here are some of the ways in which the luxury brands capture this wealthy client base.
1. TARGETING CUSTOMERS
When such brands gain a customer for their brand or business, they must hold on to them for as long as they can. These customers are the reason that their business is staying afloat. If you are a car business and you have a client who indulges in classic cars, let them know when you get a new car in. Similarly, if you sell high end handbags, call your client as soon as you receive new stock. For luxury brands, they must do everything that they can to keep clients coming back.
However, the brands also recognize that many of the super rich have not always had this wealth. Although there are those born into family money, approximately 90 percent of the super rich have made their own wealth. This wealth would not be something that they would have gained easily- they would have scraped by for years, saving every penny possible whilst building up their business from scratch, pumping all of their money back into their business. They did not splurge when they started out in the business, as they could not afford to. However, now they are insanely rich, and do not know what to do with all this money. This is where the luxury brands come in. They target these self-made billionaires and assist and persuade them in their purchases, They keep them updated on everything on the market, the background and history of the products, and why their brand is one worth investing in.
2. THE SERVICE
Once the brands have a hold of their billionaires, they provide them with the best service possible. Tina Tan Leo, owner and founder of Privato Asia (an invitation only shopping service) said ‘It’s all about trust and personalized service. It could be anything from $2000 to $2, or more. It all depends. If somebody wants something that is extraordinary, we are able to find it’.
This is the level of service that luxury brands are delivering to their customers. Whatever the customer wants, the customer gets. The sales team for luxury brands have to understand that when the customer is shopping, they are at their beck and call. From the moment the customer begins discussions with the brand, or walks through the store door, they are treated like royalty. Remember that scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts is ordering pizza whilst being attended to by personal shoppers? That is the kind of service I am talking about.
It does not just end when the purchase has been completed. Once a customer has been made, the brand will follow up on the customer like their life depends on It. The brand recognizes that by gaining that one new customer, they have possibly gained 10 new clients- after all, the rich tend to boast about the level of service they receive and this type of referral can prove to be extremely lucrative for a brand.
3. THE PRODUCT
Just as important as the service being given is the product being sold. These billionaire customers are spending so much money on luxury brands that they want to ensure that they are getting a specialized and rare item, one that they can be sure no-one else- or not many more– people can be seen with. To cater to this, many luxury brands create limited edition products. Such products are extremely rare, and made from the most expensive, rare and exotic materials that they can find. This type of rarity and exclusivity can be created by using certain skins- such as crocodile skin, certain jewels and also diamonds.
While it may seem risky for the brands to create these one-off pieces, they know that if they provide this option, the billionaires will be lining up to buy them- and they are willing to wait. Billionaires will wait years for the right product if they believe that it is a luxury to have this product. They want quality, attention to detail and uniqueness. For example, Hermes has a five year waiting list for certain bags, and also creates customized pieces for clients. Giuseppe Zanotti, a footwear brand, can create custom shoe orders for their rich clientele. Clients are now less concerned with how much something costs, and more interested in the craftsmanship and man hours that go into creating their shoes, handbags and clothing. The phrase ‘build it and they will come’ comes to mind- create a rare and collectible item, and the billionaires will be flocking to your business.
4. THE EXPERIENCE
All of the above points- the targeting your customers with introductions, the service provided and the quality of the product- this is all about the overall experience. The billionaire cliques cares less about how many objects they have, and more about how many great experiences these objects can provide them. For customers, the experience does not end with the purchase of a bag or a car- it extends beyond that. For American Express customers, those billionaire customers who have a love for fashion can have front row seats at London Fashion Week arranged by their card operator. High spending clients of brands such as Burberry, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are being invited to extravagant private shows, having meet and greets with the designers. I know of one woman who spent a lot of money at Louis Vuitton every year, and when she fell sick over Christmas was sent an outstanding ‘get well soon’ hamper full of Louis Vuitton goods. This is the kind of experience that the billionaire’s desire, and this is the experience that they get. The term “money can’t buy experience” doesn’t really seem relevant anymore wit today’s billionaires, because let’s face it – money can buy almost anything these days!
It is clear to see how the luxury brands sell their goods to the growing number of billionaires in the world. They give them so much more than a product. They make these people feel extremely special, by handing out special treatments, experiences, and providing only the highest in quality and craftsmanship- and they keep coming back to them again and again.