Okay, It's 2019 and e-commerce is not a new thing - we get that. Amazon has been playing this game since 1991. But, since then, the nature of this online buying-and-selling beast has changed massively, with innovations coming to the fore faster than you can say, “Jeff Bezos.” Cue luxury providers, who see the value in this booming industry and want a piece of the pie.
Buying a car can be a schlep - endless back-and-forth, mounds of research, visiting this dealer and that dealer ... Enter Polestar and Tesla, the two companies who want to revolutionise the way we do this.
Although Elon Musk of Tesla is forever changing gear (ha, ha!), he pioneered this online-only sales strategy for car buying. Musk had said Tesla would close its brick-and-mortar stores, however, that decision has been reversed. The stores will remain open but they will drive online sales as well, in an attempt to improve financial sustainability.
Polestar, Volvo Cars' performance partner, has also announced it will focus on changing the conventional way of car buying by digitising the process. Greg Hembrough, head of Polestar North America, explained to the Robb Report consumers want a hassle-free buying experience. “Our market research shows that. We also learned that consumers used to visit an average of 14 dealers back in 1995, doing about four hours of research before they went. Now? They do 14 hours of research on their own and visit 1.2 dealers.”
The idea for both Polestar and Tesla is that you can research, configure, pay and voila, your car appears in your driveway!
But if buying a car by clicking on a website sounds like a stretch, then how about a whole island?
3. HUSH HUSH
Hush Hush, which launched in January 2019, likes to call itself “the world’s leading luxury marketplace”. In an interview with The Telegraph, CEO Aaron Harpin describes Hush Hush as "a solution for the cash rich, time poor. For millionaires and billionaires.”
There are many places you can spend to your heart’s content online but few have the range of Hush Hush, where you can add anything from a Patek Philippe watch to a helicopter to your cart. And, why not? After all, you are going to need something to get you to Pumpkin Key Private Island, which you bought for R1,4-trillion on your last visit to the site.
This might seem like a pipe dream for most but there are legit “add to cart” buttons for sums such as R443-million underneath captions like, “Your own lake in the heart of Austria!”
4. VELOCITY BLACK
This “Amazon for millionaires” is not the only one. If apps are more your speed, then Velocity Black is for you. Don’t want to buy the island but do want to visit it? How about dining with the pharaohs in a pyramid? The members-only app paints itself as a digital concierge that merges human personability with AI-driven smarts to deliver the “luxury lifestyle desired by the world’s affluent, digitally connected customers”.
The combo of human and computer allows for 60 second response times to fulfill your every experiential need. Rich and bored and in need of entertainment? The app boasts once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as trekking with gorillas in the Congo, training with ninjas in Japan and taking a trip to the edge of space. More mundanely, you can upgrade your hotel suite from “a lot” to “palatial” or simply book a luxe villa and an airport transfer.
With a membership net worth of over R4,2-quadrillion and an average basket spend of R35 000, Velocity Black seems to tick the right boxes. As its head of product likes to put it: “Nowhere else can you book a ski chalet for you and your family and order Chanel snowboards in the same transaction.” Winning.
5. ONE CART
For something a little closer to home there’s One Cart. You're busy, with errands to run, or perhaps you just absolutely hate grocery shopping ... From groceries to pet food to medicine, One Cart can do your shopping for you. Log in, fill in your details, fill your cart and simply wait for your goods to be delivered to your door. And, yes, Woolworths is a featured store. Now you have time to tend to all the other things that fill up your day.
It might not be luxury as some know it but, then again, time can be considered one of the most desired luxuries of all. As Velocity Black aptly puts it, “In an era of readily-available luxuries, there’s one thing we can’t afford to waste, it’s time.”
Now, just make sure you have wi-fi and start indulging.