JD.com’s president of international fashion Xia Ding describes the vison as “boundaryless retail”.
As the South China Morning Post reports, one of Ding’s responsibilities is to provide those luxury fashion brands that haven’t already opened an online boutique with compelling reasons to do so.
And she has a range of innovative tech to make her case.
Since joining JD.com last year, one of Xia Ding’s focuses has been to launch and develop Toplife, a channel aimed at showcasing high-end fashion brands. A wide range of brands have since signed up to the platform, and it now sells to 260 Chinese cities.
In the cutthroat world of e-commerce, however, innovation is all, both for brands and consumers.
As part of its first-year anniversary, Toplife partnered with Elle magazine to set up a pop-up store in a Shanghai shopping mall. The pop-up featured 38 brands, and as the SCMP reports, it was used as a way of attracting online luxury sellers like Secoo and Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion, to try out offline.
This is a first step, says Xia, towards a future of “boundaryless retail”, in which the lines between on and offline and virtual shopping are seamless.
A recent partnership with the Japanese beauty company SK-II in Shanghai illustrates how this can work. JD.com set up a month-long pop-up store and gave customers a digital bracelet that let them synchronise their in-store preferences with their online shopping trolley.
However, luxury brands still want to emphasise the tangible and the boutique experience, says Xia. Even so, “those who have worked with JD to test the benefits of adding e-commerce to the mix have seen great benefits,” she told the SCMP.
Part of the challenge for luxury brands globally is to differentiate themselves and to cater for the richer experience the luxury consumer expects and demands.
As The New York Times reports, luxury brands are focused more than ever on creating deeper personal relationships with consumers. And many have created jobs with titles like “chief consumer officer”, “chief experience officer”, and “chief digital” and “client officer” to do just that.
“My objective is not a sale but the story we are going to create with the customer,” Nicolas Sala, omni-channel and client experience director at the luxury French jewelry house Boucheron told The Times.
“We are not aiming for a one-shot sale but to make the customer feel that he or she is part of the maison,” he said.
He sees his mission as making “sure that the customer gets a personalized service both online and offline and that there is no point of friction between the two”.
Sourced from the South China Morning Post, New York Times; additional content by WARC staff