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What is The Big Deal About Luxury Mystery Boxes?

  • 14th Jan 2022
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What is The Big Deal About Luxury Mystery Boxes?

Imagine a luxury resort where you have gone for a nice vacation.

Now imagine that luxury resort is also home to dozens of beautifully wrapped gifts, each one filled with next-level luxury items like designer sunglasses, bathrobes and face masks, luxury jewelry, and even fine fragrances. This is the luxury mystery box experience; you get the luxury treatment without breaking the bank or demanding it specifically from your assistant or spouse (but feel free). The promise? You won’t know what you’re going to find inside until you open it up - but when you do, something in there is guaranteed to delight you.

The concept isn’t new: luxury mystery boxes have been around for about three years. But luxury retailers are increasingly noticing the benefit of offering mystery boxes to their customers - and luxury shoppers seem more than willing to indulge. While luxury conglomerates like LVMH have developed luxury subscription services, some independent luxury brands, like La Garçonne Paris, a French luxury women's brand that specializes in jeans and beauty products, have also begun introducing luxury mystery boxes as an up-and-coming eCommerce strategy.

Luxury mystery boxes allow luxury brands to monetize unsold inventory through desirable and smart drops of surprise merchandise.

La Garçonne’s “Mystery Box Deluxe” promises a mix of 30 deluxe sample sizes from La Garçonne’s best-selling beauty products - which sell for anywhere from $62 to $120 each based on size.

For luxury brands like La Garçonne Paris, luxury mystery boxes are a way of boosting eCommerce conversions. “We wanted to offer our customers the opportunity of trying our products and buy them at a reduced price in luxury and beauty samples," said Emily Jung, Founder and Creative Director of luxury women's brand La Garconne Paris in an interview with Fast Company. "We mainly target millennials looking for new experiences and we know they love surprise gifts! We want to make luxury accessible to these consumers by giving them access to our products without having to pay such high prices."

Beyond generating sales (and word-of-mouth buzz), luxury mystery boxes also serve luxury customers who don’t mind ‘ blind luxury shopping,’ or luxury shopping where luxury customers might not know exactly what they’re getting until it arrives.

“It plays to the growing desire for luxury customers to be surprised, delighted, and - perhaps most importantly - disoriented, rather than informed about their luxury purchases in advance, which is often seen as a sign that luxury brands are trying to upsell them something less special than the experience of buying itself." The luxury mystery box appears to create "the perfect conditions for luxury shopping: it makes you feel like royalty just at the point when you're least inclined to spend your cash," says Rebecca Jennings.

For luxury shoppers who enjoy luxury shopping blindly, luxury mystery boxes are the way to go.

According to luxury fashion consultant Ron Rolleston, luxury mystery boxes can generate as much as an extra 25% in sales for luxury retailers with a strong luxury following - and that’s not including any potential word of mouth among those customers.

What they put into their luxury mystery boxes?

"They must be items that sell well online," says Grant. "That includes fragrances, cosmetics and beauty products with high average order value (AOV) and gross merchandise volume (GMV)." For La Garçonne Paris, it works: its luxury mystery box has been one of its best-selling luxury eCommerce products in recent months, and it plans to continue offering luxury mystery boxes. Just like any other luxury product, luxury mystery boxes have a lot of luxury competition - but savvy luxury fashion brands will keep discovering diamonds in the rough until they find what works best for them.

"It’s luxury market research,"

says luxury retail consultant Britt Aboutaleb. "If luxury brands want to offer luxury mystery boxes, they must do it better than their competitors." More importantly, luxury mystery shopping is about the luxury customer experience.

"If you can provide luxury consumers with an amazing luxury shopping experience, people will talk about it online and offline - which means more interest in your brand among luxury prospects (and even people who may now be considered 'fans'), as well as a reaffirmation that you are indeed 'worthy' of luxury spending or gifting," says Rolleston.

Can Luxury Mystery Boxes crack the code for discounted shopping?

Perhaps - but not everyone thinks so. While some like AskMen believe luxury mystery boxes might be the future of luxury shopping, luxury consultant Hung Doan thinks luxury mystery boxes are just another way luxury brands are trying to get luxury shoppers to spend more money. "It is not surprising luxury retailers are looking for ways to get their customers to spend, even if it means giving them something they might not want," he says.

As of now the luxury mystery box concept is attractive to luxury players seeking circular solutions. For a luxury e-commerce platform the idea of the luxury mystery box is yet to catch on fully.

"The underlying problem with luxury mystery shopping is that the promise of a 'mystery' item can turn out to be counterproductive because you've already given up on one of the basic elements of luxury - surprise!" He adds: "This is like when people go into an upscale restaurant and order steaks well done because they know what they like (they probably don't know what they like because most people think of luxury differently, but let's not get into that). They want steak served the way they like it. Well done. Period."

Challenges

Hung isn’t wrong about luxury mystery shoppers - luxury mystery boxes are attractive to luxury consumers precisely because they get luxury discounts without sacrificing luxury surprise. "I think the idea of luxury mystery shopping is great," says luxury blogger ‘A Girl Named Luxe,’ who prefers to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

"If you're wondering what someone wants or likes, then just ask them instead of guessing. When it comes to luxury consumer confidence, luxury retailers have a lot to lose when they give their customers unpleasant surprises in their luxury shopping experiences instead of pleasant ones."

Luxury mystery boxes are one of many strategies that brands are using to drive revenue in the face of declining traffic, according to luxury retail consultant Britt Aboutaleb. "It’s a good way to engage with your customers and encourage purchases."

"Fortunately for retailers looking into launching luxury mystery shopping programs, there is an abundance of third-party technology available to ease these efforts," says Grant - making it easier than ever for businesses big and small to start up their global luxury mystery shopping campaigns.

"However, success hinges on how much work goes into designing the experience - from graphics showing what's inside the box, custom gift cards (which should be luxury-branded), luxury literature, luxury receipts, luxury packaging, etc. It’s the presentation that will make luxury shoppers want to share their luxury mystery shopping experience on social media and with others."

"As for influencers, they should get in on this," says Grant. "The average luxury mystery shopper is a woman over 50 - and most of them don't follow digital influencers. So I would focus more on your older demographics and mommy bloggers."

The idea of the luxury mystery box looks like moving at full throttle and could probably be the next big thing for luxury e commerce.



WRITTEN BY

Founder and CEO of Realspace Assets LLP, a seasoned industry hand with hands on work experience of more than 15 years’ in real estate. He has also managed to put in place a highly organised core team consisting of deal makers, real estate marketing professionals, computer programmers, web ... read more


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