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Ecommerce can turn tourist spend on luxury brands into more than a holiday romance

By Digital River Blog Team / January 12, 2016

There was a time when buying a souvenir from holiday travel meant a tacky tourist memento or some impersonal item that was easy to pick up at a department store – not anymore!

Today’s holidaymakers arriving in Europe have a passion for fashion – designer fashion – and are actively seeking to invest in a handbag or piece of jewelry to commemorate their trip.

On the surface, this is great news for premium brands, especially as the tourist opportunity is growing. Spending by European tourists now accounts for more than 10 percent of EU GDP, and in 2013, Europe was crowned the largest market for luxury goods. The Tourism Alliance’s top 10 countries by tourist expenditure in Europe features Canada, Russia, France, Germany and Australia, showing the geographically diverse appeal of designer labels.

However, the reality is that the relationship luxury brands have with a holidaymaker is fleeting, unless they are already trading directly in the consumer’s domestic market, which most aren’t.

The easiest way for these brands to nurture tourist relationships on a longer-term basis is to build a new platform for trading and launch a transactional ecommerce site, but many luxury labels are reluctant to embrace the web. There are many reasons for this; common concerns include controlling their exclusive reputation on a digital platform, and personalizing each customer’s experience – language, currency, recommendations etc.

Of course, on paper launching an online store is easier said than done. Each region has its own ecommerce regulations and cultural buying nuances. Even the size of the revenue opportunity differs between markets; something we discuss in our latest guide to building a direct commerce presence.

While ecommerce offers a lower-risk route for exploring new territories than establishing a store footprint, establishing a successful online store independently involves a complex web of decision-making. This includes managing tax regulations, currency conversion, fulfilment logistics, global payment options and localized marketing campaigns. Therefore premium brands need to be smart about how they grow.

One of the most effective ways to open up a direct online channel is to find an ecommerce partner offering comprehensive services that take the pain out of the process and uphold brand identity across multiple purchase channels and markets.
Not only does working with an expert ecommerce partner make launching online easier, the go-to-market time is often shorter than going it alone – meaning tourists returning home today could be buying online from the comfort of their home in a matter of weeks.

After all, why would premium brands want to ignore interested consumers until their next holiday visit, and risk starting that relationship again from square one?

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