Luxury is a word used quite often in business and commerce. We (society, not I) have luxury cars. We have luxury homes. We have luxury yachts. We have luxury hotels. We even have a luxury eyewear forum on Facebook. Luxury is, in fact, a word used quite often in the optical business.
What makes something luxury? Is it the materials? Is it the craftsmanship? Is it the ambiance? Is it the name? Is it the service of the staff?
We can all agree that the answer to any and all of the aforementioned questions in the positive makes for a better product and a better experience. There is no question that 99.9% of us would prefer a luxury product or service over a mediocre product or service if money were no object.
So, is it the price?
Or is all perception? Is It all bullsh*t?
Perhaps it is all of the above. We all know of products and services that are marketed as luxury, only to fall well short of that mark by any measure. We also know of products and services that will outperform their competitors who use virtually the same materials, craftsmanship, and service levels.
Payless Shoes, with the help of their advertising agency, DCX Growth Accelerator, had a little fun recently, filling up a former Armani store with Payless Shows, but adding an additional zero to the price tag of every pair. They then invited fashion influencers in Los Angeles to an exclusive first look at this new fashion boutique called, Palessi.
These fashion influencers went crazy, purchasing over $3,000 worth of shows in the first three hours of the opening event. Shoes that sell every day across the country for anywhere from $19.99 to $39.99 were being sold for upwards of $600.
Payless outed themselves after the fact and returned the money spent on the shoes. The entire event was captured on camera and is being turned into a series of commercials that I am sure is going to do very well for Payless.
So what does this teach us about the optical industry? Are those of us with “luxury stores” actually selling luxury products? Are we giving a luxury experience? Or are trying to get by on smoke and mirrors? (cue The Platters – The Great Pretender)