Tiffany & Co. is giving its sales mechanism a digital upgrade with a new partnership with Net-a-Porter. The tie in will represent the first time the American jeweler has sold goods outside its own site.
Tiffany at present does not report its quarterly eCommerce sales separately. As of 2013, the last time they did break out those results, the retailer saw a 4 percent growth in online sales over the year — in a time when Tiffany broadly redesigned its website to feature high-definition images.
Recently, however, the picture over at the iconic American jeweler has been less sparkly. Pushed by a weakened dollar and slowed demand among Asian consumers, Tiffany is trying to expand its customer base in the U.S., particularly among young consumers.
Tiffany has not been lackadaisical in the effort to appeal to the young and luxury oriented, with both revamps to their digital and physical store designs, as well as a re-centered marketing campaign. But what Tiffany historically does not do is cut prices — and that is problematic among consumers under 30 who have been trained with Pavlovian efficiency to look for deals.
Net-A-Porter may be the method of squaring that circle for the luxury brand, as the site has managed to bring in conversion in a desirable age category, without having to bargain basement the prices on goods.
“Tiffany has been a renowned house of luxury for 179 years, and brand collaborations with innovative businesses like Net-A-Porter help ensure that Tiffany’s timeless designs reach a new generation of customers, wherever they are,” Philippe Galtie, senior vice president of international sales at Tiffany & Co., said in a statement. “With their recognized edit and fashion authority, Net-A-Porter will re-introduce Tiffany as more than the legendary jeweler, but an expression of personal style.”
The partnership is in a limited, trial phase at present - but if it shows promise in turning things around for the retailer it seems likely the relationship will continue. Tiffany saw its holiday season sales down 6 percent in the U.S. even with the dollar strong. Counting in the weak dollar, the picture is less pretty, as Tiffany's same-store sales dropped 8 percent in the U.S. and 9 percent in Asia.