PARIS: LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, is planning to debut a new multi-brand e-commerce platform as early as June and the company's chief digital officer is confident it will have an edge in an already crowded online market.
Speaking to the New York Times, Ian Rogers explained that LVMH's new online store, called 24 Sèvres, will offer 150 brands initially, including 20 to 30 that are owned by the company, such as Louis Vuitton and Dior.
Named 24 Sèvres after the street address of LVMH's Le Bon Marché department store in Paris, the online store will focus initially on womenswear and comes with a mobile app in addition to the website.
Rogers said that LVMH had considered every branding possibility for 24 Sèvres, but decided on maintaining a connection to Le Bon Marché because of its 160-year history as a pioneer in catalogue sales.
In addition, 24 Sèvres is the name of the department store's current loyalty program, which has "legions" of existing members, and the program will be shared with users of the new website and app.
"I find it interesting that the Parisian perspective on fashion has been missing from the e-commerce landscape until now," he said. "In my view it is a conspicuous absence and a huge market gap that we intend to fill."
However, LVMH's move into luxury online retailing is unlikely to be complete plain sailing because there are several established players already, such as FarFetch and Yoox Net-a-Porter, and the company's previous foray with a website called eLuxury ended in failure in 2009.
But Rogers remained convinced that the company's digital move will succeed because of its timing. "We believe we are on the cusp of revealing something very exciting," he said.
Luca Solca, a luxury goods analyst with Exane BNP Paribas, also thought that moving Le Bon Marché online via the 24 Sèvres brand was "a clear and natural next step".
"The natural advantage for LVMH is that they can get so many brands to play ball straight away because the businesses belong to them,” he said, in reference to the company's large portfolio of top luxury brands.
Another distinguishing feature of the new e-commerce platform is that it will place a heavy emphasis on the visual presentation of the range of goods available.
"The move toward social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat comes hand-in-hand with the rise of the internet as a more visual medium and of mobile domination," said Rogers. "Increasingly consumers want pictures over words."
Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff