Louis Vuitton is a popular fashion house and retail company that started its operations in 1854. The entity produces luxurious products varying from suitcases and shoes to accessories and clothes. An outlining feature of Louis Vuitton lies in its unwillingness to use machinery in the manufacturing process. The artisans pay attention to every detail in expensive goods intended for upper middle class and the elite. The fashion house sells its products in own boutiques, which helps build connection between the company and its customers. Trained clerks ensure that customers remain satisfied with both goods and services.
Louis Vuitton pays much attention to its marketing strategy, which focuses on the support of organizational traditions and development of new fashion trends. The fashion house pursues a value-based pricing strategy that recognizes the hard work and dedication of every employee to the delivery of goods of premium quality. The customers of Louis Vuitton are affluent young men and women and middle-aged buyers who can afford luxurious products and would like to share the lifestyle that the fashion house spreads.
The fashion house has an outstanding marketing strategy, which supports its mission statement and principles of the performance. However, the company’s market position is not strong enough to ensure its long-term profitability. Market fluctuations and economic challenges could reduce willingness of people to spend money on luxurious products. Louis Vuitton does not offer neither discounts nor sales to customers, which significantly lowers attractiveness of the fashion house among customers of the middle class. Louis Vuitton should consider alternative marketing strategies in order to ensure its long-term success. In combination with outstanding promotions that engage celebrities, Louis Vuitton is most likely to succeed.
Louis Vuitton: Marketing Mix and Targeting Strategy
Louis Vuitton is a retail company offering luxurious products and a fashion house that emerged in 1854. Louis Vuitton is the founder of the well-known fashion brand that became one of the remarkable attributes of the designed products with a highly recognizable monogram. One of the most successful fashion houses operates internationally and sells its products in boutiques and department stores. The company performs globally in 50 countries, with more than 450 stores welcoming customers (Anido Freire & Loussa?ef, 2018). Expensive, luxurious, unique, and sophisticated are the main epithets that describe the commodities of Louis Vuitton. The history of the company emphasizes its aspiration to exclusivity and original design, which the modern generation still enjoys after almost two centuries since foundation of the fashion house.
Louis Vuitton is proud of being a fashion house that owns several brands under its Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) – a conglomerate of multinational products in luxurious segment. The fashion house took care of making its mission statement a versatile foundation of producing expensive and exclusive goods. A commonly shared mission statement of all brands under the name of Louis Vuitton is the following: “To represent the most refined qualities of Western “Art de Vivre” (art of living) around the world; to be synonymous with both elegance and creativity; to blend tradition and innovation, and kindle dream and fantasy” (Anido Freire & Loussa?ef, 2018). It emphasizes that Louis Vuitton offers an elegant and luxurious lifestyle than just expensive products that could attract attention only with a price tag. Thus, the emotions and experiences of customers are priceless for Louis Vuitton.
The history of Louis Vuitton reveals its progressive development in offering various products to the customers. The fashion house started from making luggage with its recognizable signature, which indicated a trademark that promised customers high quality and uniqueness. An outlining feature of Louis Vuitton lies in the traditional approach to manufacturing process. The artisans make every product by hand, which means that the fashion house guarantees high quality of its goods. Trunks, leather goods, jewelry, shoes, accessories, watches, sunglasses, books, and clothes are the main products that Louis Vuitton is proud to create as well as sell across the world. A careful approach towards every product emphasizes preciseness of Louis Vuitton in ensuring that the customers gasp after becoming the lucky owners of carefully crafted goods.
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Competition in fashion industry is not a new phenomenon, as fashion trends have always been setting the essence of shopping patterns that the customers establish. Chanel, Christian Dior, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Gucci, Versace, Hermes, and even Zara are the main competitors of Louis Vuitton (Anido Freire & Loussa?ef, 2018). Luxurious brands have always competed for attention of customers who are willing to be trendy and wear stylish clothes. In addition, the fashion houses would like to satisfy the needs of the buyers in emphasizing their own personalities and unique sense of style. Global expansion and continuous refreshment of assortment are the main triggers of competition that foster active development of Louis Vuitton as well as its competitors.
Louis Vuitton is the fashion house that cares of not only setting fashion trends but also increasing its presence in online environment. E-commerce became another source of income for Louis Vuitton after the digital world introduced online shopping. The fashion house has an official website, which allows its customers to look through pieces of the latest collections in any category of products. Louis Vuitton also actively uses its social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Brand recognition and attraction of attention of the audience are the main targets of Louis Vuitton on its social media profiles. Visually attractive content as well as continuous collaboration with celebrities, global businesses, and charity organizations represent the essence of the fashion house’s online presence.
Over the years of experiences, Louis Vuitton continues supporting its reputation with the commodities of high quality. The customers associate high quality with the fashion house that pays equal attention to every item in all product lines. Thus, Louis Vuitton has high brand recognition, which ensures that customers aspire to wearing and using products of this brand in order to enhance their social status (Cavender & Kincade, 2015). Finally, the fashion house regularly collaborates with celebrities who willingly advertise its products.
Excessive centralization of Louis Vuitton makes it inflexible in the decision-making process. In addition, the fashion house lacks sensitivity in the international arena. The French brand barely accommodates to local trends. Finally, the prices for Louis Vuitton products are too high to justify customers’ willingness to consider substitute products at other fashion houses or retailers. For example, Zara offers customers the latest fashion trends at the most affordable prices compared to luxurious fashion houses.
Adoption of fashion trends and the increase in accommodation to foreign peculiarities of customers create an opportunity for Louis Vuitton to grow its brand recognition. In addition, annual growth of the market of luxurious products emphasizes the opportunity to extend merchandise and market share. Finally, the fashion house still has not engaged in any collaboration with luxurious hotels and media events, which could increase brand recognition and boost willingness of consumers to own one of Louis Vuitton products (Cavender & Kincade, 2015). As long as Louis Vuitton aims to sell lifestyle and unique experience through its products, it should become an adornment of both global and local media events.
Availability of counterfeit products threatens productivity of Louis Vuitton. It also burdens reputation of the fashion house, which can hardly change the first impression of consumers who become victims of poor quality of counterfeit products. Furthermore, the economic fluctuations determine consumers’ ability to afford Louis Vuitton commodities. Economic crisis can significantly reduce financial stability of the fashion house (Cavender & Kincade, 2014). Finally, competitors threaten Louis Vuitton’s strategic development and attractiveness.
Specialized products with emphasis on premium quality and unique design are the essence of the marketing mix of Louis Vuitton. The house is famous for its leather goods, including purses, bags, and suitcases, which often enhance self-image of its owners. The consumers also enjoy designer shoes, glittering jewelry, belts, and eyeglasses. Young talented designers at Louis Vuitton continuously work on creating sophisticated collections that would satisfy demands of the target audience. The fashion house has always focused on traditional artisanship that ensures a consumer’s satisfaction with an exclusive product. Louis Vuitton is against machines in the manufacturing process, as only artisans can monitor and control the quality of every product (Lee, 2015). In this way, the customers of the fashion house value efforts that one of their favorite brands takes to create and deliver products of outstanding design and quality.
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Distribution policy of Louis Vuitton is also traditional and firm. The fashion house sells its products in personalized stores, which customers should visit in order to buy the desired commodity. Atmosphere in every store of Louis Vuitton creates an aura of expensiveness and haute couture, which customers are continuously looking for (Lee, 2015). Specially trained sales clerks ensure that the customers receive high-quality service and unique experience. Louis Vuitton is against long channels of distribution that damage connection between customers and the fashion house.
The rich quality of Louis Vuitton products is the most important factor in prices that the fashion house sets. The value-based pricing strategy is an outstanding peculiarity of the premium pricing practices that Louis Vuitton set years ago. The consumers would never find neither sales nor discounts in the stores of the fashion house. Hard work and precision of every employee are the foundation of pricing at Louis Vuitton. The fashion house does not recognize the importance of lowering prices in order to increase its market share. Instead, Louis Vuitton focuses on the elite customers who can afford products of premium quality.
A traditional focus on quality of every item in product lines and aspiration to unique style are beneficial attributes of Louis Vuitton that is striving to set fashion trends and make customers the lucky owners of the designer products. The fashion house successfully diversified its product lines in order to satisfy needs of men and women. The customers can either buy pieces of Louis Vuitton product lines separately or combine clothes with accessories and shoes to create a stylish look. Exclusivity of every product inspires customers to enjoy improvement of their lifestyle as soon as they join the community of elite customers. In this way, association between wealth and Louis Vuitton is a strong element of the marketing strategy that has already ensured decades of profitability and recognition. In addition, intentional avoidance of long channels of distribution emphasizes the willingness of Louis Vuitton to contact the target audience directly. Connection between the fashion house and its customers is strong enough to ensure long-term profitability and global leadership in the market of luxurious products.
Regardless of a powerful marketing mix in terms of products and distribution, the fashion house has a questionable approach to the pricing strategy. On the one hand, the selected pricing strategy is appropriate for covering costs of the manufacturing process. On the other hand, Louis Vuitton cannot increase its market share due to the difficulties that the majority of customers experience in affording products of the fashion house. Sales and discounts on Black Friday or other special holidays would help attract attention of the middle class. In this way, it would be possible to improve brand recognition and reduce the negative influence of counterfeit products since customers would have an opportunity to buy one of Louis Vuitton products at a lower price. However, Louis Vuitton seems to avoid reduction of prices in order to support its exclusivity.
Luxurious products of Louis Vuitton are for customers from the upper middle class and elite aged between 20 and 54 years old. Perfection, superior design, and art are the main aspirations of Louis Vuitton customers who value haute couture and can afford expensive pieces of garments. In addition, the fashion house welcomes people who value traditions, fine artisanship, style, and precision in every detail. Flexibility and diversification of product lines emphasize ability of the fashion house to attract attention of both affluent youth and wealthy middle-aged customers (Lee, 2015). The average customer of the fashion house is a successful businessperson or student from a rich family aware of fashion trends. The customers of Louis Vuitton are willing to support their prestige, power, and self-esteem that heavily depend on purchase of expensive goods. In this way, a powerful segmentation strategy helps Louis Vuitton reach the target audience by using demographic, psychographic, and usage segmentations.
The celebrities and other meaningful individuals from the world of media and entertainment continuously collaborate with Louis Vuitton to emphasize style and quality of products. The fashion house intentionally creates associations between successful celebrities and brand. Moreover, the famous people often become the ambassadors of Louis Vuitton in order to emphasize the value of goods that the fashion house sells. The advertisements of Louis Vuitton are attractive and appealing by featuring both the new product and an iconic celebrity promoting it (see Appendix A). In this way, fashionable and individual advertisements that speak to every customer in person foster increase of consumers willing to share the same experience and lifestyle. In addition, Louis Vuitton often sponsors sporting events to attract the attention of the consumers. Yachting and motorsport always attract attention of the elite willing to be a part of the event, which involves only respected individuals of the upper class. Elite society, as the target audience of Louis Vuitton, recognizes engagement of the brand in events with highly respected individuals of sports and entertainment industries.
Targeting strategy of Louis Vuitton is balanced, logical, and grounded. The company’s attitude to pricing of luxurious products justifies selection of the upper middle class and the elite as the target audience. On the one hand, it ensures that exclusive handmade products will always be in demand. On the other hand, it means that the target audience of the fashion house is limited. Thus, it is impossible to enhance profitability in terms of economic fluctuations and financial crisis. It is difficult to predict market share of the company if it faces an outstanding threat from one of its competitors in terms of pricing. If one of the luxurious brands created special offers for other segments of consumers, Louis Vuitton would reduce its brand recognition. It means that the selected target audience is not reliable enough in terms of long-term profitability.
As for promotions, Louis Vuitton has a winning strategy that reinforces the importance of effective advertising. Collaboration with highly recognizable and popular celebrities helps support brand image and proves that the products are of the highest quality that even celebrities value in their purchases. Apart from that, luxurious goods of the fashion house have strong associations with wealth and success, which celebrities effectively embody. As a result, Louis Vuitton achieves recognition of its new collections through active promotion. The consumers become willing to share the same experience with their favorite actors, musicians, or sport stars. In this way, the fashion house should continue building the same attitude from customers in order to support its brand reputation and enhance aspiration of consumers to success.
All in all, the market segment of luxurious goods has always attracted attention of both analysts and consumers aspiring to ownership of expensive products that would support their class and wealth. A careful analysis of Louis Vuitton proves that traditions and focus on exclusivity are the main peculiarities of the fashion house, which has always focused on the upper middle class and elite. Louis Vuitton recognizes the importance of creating associations between the quality of products and fashion house. The consumers who understand fashion trends and can afford purchasing clothes and accessories with impressive price tags are the target audience of Louis Vuitton. Regardless of intense competition and continuous economic fluctuations, the fashion house has numerous locations globally. Apart from that, Louis Vuitton’s focus on selling products through own boutiques with trained clerks emphasizes its willingness to keep its business traditional. In this way, the marketing strategy of the entity benefits from the ability of customers to communicate with representatives of the fashion house directly. However, inability of Louis Vuitton to initiate sales or discounts creates significant limits in market expansion. The consumers of middle class are looking for opportunities to purchase one of the most fashionable and high-quality products. Unfortunately, inflexibility of Louis Vuitton in pricing strategy contributes to the spread of counterfeit products that consumers are more willing to purchase. If the company could improve affordability of its products, it would increase its profitability. However, the current stage of the company’s development focuses on exclusivity.