Customer Experience: Luxury Fashion


A busy executive decided she was going to invest some of her precious leisure time (and a sizable financial investment) in a lovely new French designer purse. As she was looking forward to enjoying the thrill of the shopping experience, she decided to head to her favorite designer’s retail boutique.

Upon arriving inside the boutique, she was completely ignored by all the sales associates. While she had an idea of what kind of handbag she wanted to buy, she still required some assistance in viewing multiple styles, so initiated a conversation with one associate. Though the boutique was not crowded, the associate’s body language demonstrated annoyance that the executive was attempting to engage with her. The executive then tried to catch the attention of another sales associate. The second sales associate was slightly more helpful, but acted very arrogantly and clearly was not listening to the questions being asked, which dismayed the executive.

Despite having committed the time to drive to the boutique, and though she had entered the retail shop with the strong intent to purchase, the executive left empty-handed and very disappointed. Weeks later, when browsing on the internet at night, she found a beautiful purse by a famed Italian fashion house. She immediately purchased it.


  • Based on the product price point, the executive had the expectation that the retail shopping experience would include high-touch, elegant service.
  • The retail boutique (and subsequently the brand) lost credibility and loyalty when the shopping experience expectation collided with disengaged and lackluster sales associates.
  • Even though the executive wanted to buy a purse and had the means to do so, the poor customer experience pushed her to not purchase during her boutique visit.
  • As the desire for the luxury product did not subside, but the memory of the dismal experience remained, the executive simply purchased through a different channel and from a competitor.

Learn how The Ritz-Carlton has created a culture of exceptional customer experience and how to apply it to your organization at one of our upcoming enrichment courses.