I resorted Jewelry company Gismondi 1754 to WhatsApp messaging service to sell a diamond ring worth 300,000 euros to a wealthy Swiss customer as Italy enters a new ban due to the Coronavirus and stores close in March.
The pandemic has forced luxury goods companies to use social media platforms, video and virtual galleries to lure their wealthy customers in Europe at a time when tourists, especially from China, have been absent for more than a year.
Retailers in Britain and most of Italy reopened on Monday, but remain closed in France and access restricted in Germany, where a negative coronavirus test is required to go to most stores.
And this trend of selling outside of the traditional store network with no substitution for physical stores appears to be here to stay.
The closures mean wealthy Europeans have money to spend away from luxury hotels and restaurants, and the brands are keen to make some of that.
Brands like Hermes, which were more conservative to sell online, had to embrace ecommerce entirely.
The luxury brands have also invested in transforming store assistants into personal shoppers who care about very important customers by sending them products home and staying in touch.
Most of the brands are now broadcasting products on social media and showing product videos to customers.
And Gismondi 1754, prior to the pandemic, had not considered selling a 10-carat diamond ring for 300,000 euros via WhatsApp without showing it to the customer in person.
Gismondi 1754 CEO said: I was talking on the phone with the lady who bought it, and it turned out that this was a lifelong dream for her.
From that moment on, she started an exchange of messages and video calls with the lady over WhatsApp to find the perfect design for the ring that was delivered to her home.
Louis Vuitton began moving its stores to the doors of wealthy customers in the United States in addition to online sales.
The “Louis Vuitton Via Appointment” campaign brings a dedicated customer store, curated with a customized selection of pieces, from leather goods to watches and fragrances, for those who choose to serve.
In February, the Gucci CEO said revenue from remote sales – or sales outside the global store network – rose sharply last year, and the company trained 400 sales assistants in 16 countries for the purpose.
The CEO of Prada said: We went from a store assistant who shows you a product to someone who also does some marketing, knows customers and their tastes and habits, communicates with them and sends the products home.