How to sell really expensive things on a website

Nonsense, poopypants.

True, in the earlier days of the web, when it came to big-ticket retail purchases online, a brand’s site could move the target deeper into the sales cycle, but closing the deal was out of the question.

Items like luxury watches, premium appliances, and other high-end merchandise needed to be sold in person, because no one could trust a website to get it right.

But that began to change (slowly) as consumer confidence in website-based transactions grew. The 2018 holidays were a good example. Consumer spending ticked up in items such as grills, mattresses and appliances.

Plus, the advent of online financing has been a boon to both consumers and small-but-premium online retailers who are looking to make the jump to light speed.

Case in point: A $5,000 dollar BBQ Smoker

If you watch BBQ Pitmasters, you may know of Myron Mixon, the Winningest Man in BBQ.

The BBQ smokers that bear his name start at around $2000. They go up to north of $40K. And believe us, the passionistas of competitive BBQ will pay for performance. So will the backyard BBQers who watch the show and wanna be the talk of the neighborhood.

Proof: Last month, website sales of Myron Mixon smokers topped $155,000 – with an average sale value of around $2500.

Full disclosure: We built the site (and the marketing program) that generated the sales. Here are the best practices we boiled into the site.

Making the sale one click at a time

  • Brand first. Affluent people need to understand the brand before they buy. It’s how value perceptions are created. So don’t be shy about using heroic (full screen) imagery on the home page or landing page.
  • Simplify. There’s a classic conundrum marketers face in selling to affluent groups. Often the target is highly educated, so the marketer’s impulse is to share lots of information and appeal to the target’s intelligence. Bad idea. The reason: Being financially successful usually means being busy – and not having the time to read, grasp details, and appreciate the minutiae. Go for pith and concision up front. Save long format copy for product pages.
  • Obey classic retail principles. The right language can help expedite the sale at key points in the process. Look at how microcopy can make a difference. For example, we’ve noticed that “Starting at…” has been particularly effective in selling Myron Mixon BBQ smokers at higher price points of $4000 and up.
  • Customize. Consumers love bells and whistles. Brands love the margins that go with them. The affluent buyer experiences the “in for a penny” state of mind after the main purchase decision has been made, so position options, upsell and cross-sell products after the Buy Now button has been clicked.
  • Handle financing with subtle sophistication. Look at how high-end watch seller Crown & Caliber handles online financing. Products are co-positioned with financing information so the buyer is constantly being upsold. The process is explained clearly and simply. FAQs coexist with product shots to reinforce ownership at every turn. Nice work, C&C.

Dive into online selling

Despite the migration of higher net worth buyers to online sales, luxury brands have been reluctant to sell in web environments.

In our view, they should jump in. And we can help.