Making the inaccessible accessible - the oxymoron of online luxury distribution : A qualitative study on consumer responses towards the distribution of luxury in an online multibrand context
Abstract: Background - Luxury companies have long been reluctant to adopt the internet as a mode of distribution. A luxury brand’s concept of exclusiveness is seemingly incompatible with the ubiquitous nature of the internet. Hence, many luxury brands are fearful that distributing their products on third-party online retail platforms might decrease the brands’ vital aura of luxury. Purpose - The purpose of this study is to explore consumer perceptions, attitudes and purchase intention towards a luxury brand being distributed on an online multibrand marketplace. This research aims to fill the existing gap on the ambiguous nature of luxury branding and distribution in an online multibrand context. Methodology - A qualitative approach including ten semi-structured interviews with Swedish millennials were conducted. A case study of a hypothetical brand alliance between Louis Vuitton and Amazon was developed, presented and discussed. Collected data was analyzed through thematic analysis. Findings - Results show that the online distribution of a luxury brand did influence consumer perceptions of the luxury brand when seen online. However, it did not result in a change in their overall attitude or purchase intention towards the luxury brand. Additionally, it was found that consumers were not willing to buy luxury on an multibrand marketplace platform.
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