The Cross-Border Phenomenon
With markets becoming transparent (easy to get product information and prices) and the possibility of sending almost anything at relatively low cost by international shipping and courier services, more and more consumers are buying across borders.
Local import duties, goods and services taxes, and operating costs generate pricing gaps and provide opportunities to a very large of number of professional buyers who prospect Luxury and high value products online. Sometimes, vendors are organized into large corporations, finding goods and selling on a very large scale, notably into the Chinese market, but not only.
Sales advisors have to know that these channels exist and they had better know and understand them. When facing a customer claiming to be able to find a Luxury creation he wants at a much lower price, it is important for the sales advisor to raise the arguments and state the risks of not buying from an official source:
- - Fakes: Some operators will even fake certificates of authenticity and even the packaging and the shopping bag
- - Pre-used: You never know if a product has used. Everything can be faked
- - Degraded: Some internal parts can be changed/substituted for parts of a lower quality
- - Modified: Some features are removed or changed into lower quality (for example, diamonds)
Lucy: "Mrs. Lam, I know that there are some sites proposing our iconic handbag at the price you mention. I am not sure if they are actually real. Even if they are real, they might be exchanged items or pre-used. You know, these days, some operators can fake anything including price tags and even shopping bags. Sometimes there are operators who don’t even know that they are not selling the original item because they buy their goods from unreliable sources—-from who knows where. Of course, the handbag could be original, just the same as this one, but there is a risk that it is not genuine. We do need to be vigilant, when it comes to buying online from strangers."
In the digital age, the role of sales advisor is changing drastically. The advisory role is there not only to provide information but to assist customers in the decision. Not only is there a need for true expertise, but sales advisors also have to be able to assist in the emotional and experiential aspect:
- - Provide the right information to ME
- - Reassure ME