Create a luxurious user experience
1. Use lots of white space, keep a low number of products on display, and use fewer colors.
Academic insight published by CXL explored which design elements lead people to believe a website is more luxurious and found that using lots of white space, having a low number of products on display, and using fewer colors consistently created the perception of prestige. There’s something about bright colors and clutter that screams I’m cheap, as Ryanair knows:
2. Apply the same design principles to your mobile site and invest in a great mobile experience.
Data from Think With Google shows that 79% of luxury auto buyers indicated they used a smartphone during their research process. So, no matter where customers eventually buy your product, they probably did some preliminary research on their phone. Moreover, research shows that about a third of luxury brands are said not to be optimized for mobile, so make sure your mobile site is usable and that you invest in a great mobile experience. For example, A. Lange & Söhne’s mobile site keeps the simple elegance of its desktop site, using lots of white space, displaying only one product per screen, and limiting the number of colors used.
3. Use typography that accurately reflects your brand and works with it, not against it.
Typography is highly subjective and depends on your target market, the story you’re trying to tell, and the emotions you’re trying to evoke. There isn’t a single right answer to what typography you should use, but it needs to be readable and accurately reflect your brand. For example, the image below is a perfect example of typography that works against, instead of with, a brand.
4. Invest in a professional photographer instead of using common, prevalent, and overused stock photos.
Using common, prevalent, and overused stock photos makes your brand look like those three adjectives – the opposite of your goal when trying to look like a luxury brand.
5. Optimize your site for usability to reduce friction and improve motivation.
Any friction lowers the chances of users taking action, and can actually produce a negative reaction to your brand. Improving a site’s usability reduces the interaction cost – users’ effort to use the site – and increases its expected utility, increasing motivation for users to take action.
6. Avoid cluttering your webpages with tons of pop-ups and distractions.
Nothing says cheap like 13 popups in your face before you can even read the value proposition. Just like a cluttered storefront may signal cheaper prices and lower quality, a cluttered web page lowers users’ perceived value of your brand. Not all pop-ups are bad – it’s more about keeping them to a bare minimum and avoiding a cluttered and sleazy-looking user experience.
7. Use scarcity and exclusivity to restrict access to your products.
We always crave what we can’t have. When access to something is restricted, its perceived value and the demand for it increases. For example, by capping their production output, Ferrari makes it more valuable to own one of the limited vehicles it makes, reinforcing their image as a luxury brand.
8. Ensure your design supports your objectives and helps convert your audience.
Let your brand objectives lead your design – beautiful designs don’t always work better. Users’ initial perception of your site must match your business and what may be valuable to one user may be disregarded by others. For example, in the image below, the budget impression communicated by easyJet’s bright colors and immediate presentation of special offers works well since their value proposition is low price. Lufthansa, however, emphasizes hospitality and service over price, and this is reflected in their sleek and elegant design.