Retail Confessions: Louis Vuitton, Part I
"Guys would come in to buy push presents. They would buy a Never Full [handbag] or a diaper bag for their wife. They would also buy anything mini for the baby."
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You never knew who would walk into the Louis Vuitton flagship in Dallas.
“It could be someone coming in with one-dollar bills that they made the night before stripping. Or cash that reeks of marijuana. And then your next client is a waspy Highland Park grandmother who's coming to buy a first Louis Vuitton for her two-year-old granddaughter,” said a former sales person who worked in the store leading into the pandemic. As with many luxury retail jobs these days, the store pushed clienteling, or curating repeat clients versus managing one-off shoppers. Data indicated that a client who spent $10,000 a year could spend $50,000, and enormous effort went into getting the $10,000-a-year customers to spend more, and spend across categories
“All of the training was focused on the exceptional qualities of the brand, and less on psychology of sales,” the sales person recalled. Ahead, they talk in detail about what working in the store was really like.
Did you actually have people buying items for two-year-olds?
Yes. Not even two-year-olds — newborn babies. Guys would come in to buy push presents. They would buy a Never Full [handbag] or a diaper bag for their wife. They would also buy anything mini for the baby, like a pochette, which was around $1,000 or $1,200
What were the top clients like?
They shopped monthly. They loved Louis Vuitton and would buy across every product category. They weren't just buying bags, they were also buying shoes, jewelry, accessories, ready-to-wear. Our goal with those clients was to increase their spend and the categories they shopped.
Was it hard to do that?
Every client advisor would have, say, one or two go-tos. Anytime we'd have a new launch of anything, we could send them a picture and be like, “Oh my gosh, you have to have this!” And they'd be like, “I'll be there tomorrow.” Some people only wanted to buy leather, but we were always trying to get them to bump up, like, “Please buy this exotic leather bag” — that was always hard because exotic [skins] are really expensive. Louis Vuitton makes furniture and it's incredibly expensive, like $80,000 for one chair. We were always trying to sell the most extreme thing, and that was really hard.
No one wants to buy Louis Vuitton fine jewelry because Louis Vuitton's not known for fine jewelry. They want to go to Van Cleef and Arpels or Tiffany or Cartier.
Who was your top client and how much did they spend?