Patterns in luxury consumption are changing. More affluent consumers are shopping for luxury goods, including high-end home furnishings, online. They also are buying fewer luxury goods than they were a decade ago. As a group, the affluent are now more mature and have accumulated many of the luxury goods they craved when they were younger. These days, they are choosing to spend their money on luxury experiences instead, like exotic travel and gourmet dining.
So where does that leave you, the interior designer? If your business model relies heavily on selling and marking up product, you are probably seeing a decline in revenues. Designers have expressed to me their frustration, and even anger, at clients wanting to do their own purchasing or, worse, comparison-shopping behind their backs. I sympathize, but the reality is things are not going to go back to the way they used to be. Times have changed, and your business model needs to change with them.
Chances are clients will still want you to purchase most custom-ordered pieces for them. For the other items, offer to serve as a curator for their online purchases by explaining differences in quality and features and directing them to reputable online retailers. You might also want to point where you can save them some money by purchasing to-the-trade only goods. In other words, provide them with a bespoke customer service experience such as they would expect from the finest luxury retailers. When you can’t sell product, sell them the experience.
If you’re not sure how you should charge for such a service, or how to profitably retool your business model, contact me for a confidential consultation. I have helped a number of designers make the transition and increase their revenues at the same time. Let’s talk.