PARIS: PPR, the luxury and lifestyle goods group, is making ecommerce a major strategic priority, as it aims to reach €1bn in online sales by 2020.

The company has entered into a joint venture with YOOX, a digital retail company specialising in luxury and fashion, to develop the ecommerce capabilities of several leading brands within its portfolio.

"It's not an option. It's not about 'Should we go online or not?' This is completely meaningless," François-Henri Pinault, PPR's chief executive, told Business of Fashion. "We need to enter this new digital world with different practices."

Bottega Veneta and Sergio Rossi will thus open online stores by the end of 2012, with Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga all set to do the same by the close of 2013.

"We decided to partner with YOOX to make sure we can use the same platform and the same technology, best-in-class functionality, brand by brand, without waiting," said Pinault.

"YOOX is the best player when it comes to ecommerce and logistics platforms in the world of luxury and technology."

Pinault also reported that 20% of the turnover recorded by the typical bricks and mortar store is now linked to the internet in some way, from conducting product research to locating a branch, meaning this channel is increasingly important.

"Today, everybody, whatever their age, uses the web for information," said Pinault.

"In the digital space, we are talking to the same customer as we are talking to in the offline world. It's just a matter of adapting ourselves to the reality of our customers."

In a bid to reflect its customer-centric priorities, PPR will outsource all of the technical components of its online activity to YOOX, but handle the more intangible aspects of brand management in-house.

"It's the same engine, the same logistics platform that we will be using, for all the brands, but the brands will each decide the assortment, the pricing, the design of the site," said Pinault.

"These will be the responsibility of the brand, as they are part of the brand identity. Everything that is linked to technology or ecommerce functionality will be completely outsourced. This is really the sense of the partnership."

Data sourced from Business of Fashion; additional content by Warc staff