The early part of this chapter identified the major reasons for the late adoption of e-retail by luxury fashion brands, ranging from concern over diluting the brand aura to the popular consensus of the incompatibility of sensory goods and the web. Although these arguments have some logical business credibility, the reality is that it is possible to sell luxury goods online profitably. As proof to this, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Gucci are pioneering e-retail in the industry and currently reaping substantial online sales turnover in the process.
An effective method of gauging the suitability of goods for online sales is through the 'Electronic Shopping Test' or ES test framework, devised by M. de Kare Silver in his book, E-Shock: The New Rules. The ES test quantifies the likely e-retail potential of certain products and estimates the proportion of the target customers that are likely to buy the goods online. This strategic tool, when frequently utilized, acts as an aid in the development and revision of e-retail strategies. It utilizes a three-factor test criterion based on (a) product characteristics; (b) familiarity and confidence; and (c) consumer attributes.
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