BEIJING: European luxury brands are trying to get into China’s lucrative e-commerce space, with the e-commerce giant JD.com carving out an attractive niche for companies looking to engage with affluent millennials.
Luxury brands including the leather goods firm, Perrin Paris; LVMH-owned skincare brand, Cha Ling; and British stalwarts such as Mulberry and Alexander McQueen have gravitated toward the site, according to Jing Daily.
JD.com’s TopLife resembles Alibaba’s Luxury Pavilion in its offer to brands, which enjoy additional expertise such as customer service, delivery, and marketing.
Michel Perrin, CEO and chairman of the luxury leather brand that bears his name told the site that the app helped his brand find an early adopter audience for the new model of handbag, ‘La Minaudiere,’ which was bought by millennials who downloaded the app before the April launch date.
“A brand can be lost in a sea of competitors,” Perrin told the site. “You can lose control of the image. I’ve never been attracted to an e-commerce site that looks for big commercial brands, as Net-a-Porter does. I prefer the company of a niche environment with a clear vision of luxury where unique qualities allow us to tell our brand story.
“I think the immediate attraction of our product is not about the price but to do with a generation appreciating the philosophy of luxury, respecting the products, the process and the opportunity to explore like-minded brands,” said Perrin
It appears that the TopLife app offers an important halo effect of exclusivity. “Like Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion, JD.com’s Toplife creates a space separate from the e-tailer’s mass-market platform in order to provide the high-end online experience that luxury brands require,” said Liz Flora, Asia Pacific editor at L2.
Such an advantage is not lost on brands. “From jewellery to fashion, handbags, and beauty, the brands selected all have rich content with great know-how and creativity”, said Elodie Sebag, general manager of Cha-Ling, who praised the global lifestyle approach to the luxury category.
For Cha-Ling, too, the millennial market is incredibly important as customers between 25 and 35 account for a third of the brand’s Chinese sales. “We definitely have to explore new ways to be present online and to match millennials’ seamless purchasing behaviour.”
The market, however, is intensely competitive with other big e-commerce players –like Alibaba and the “affordable luxury” site Shangpin.com, which boasts repeat purchase rates of up to 80% – well established in the luxury space.
Sourced from Jing Daily; additional content by WARC staff