Iconic French fashion house Chanel has inked a strategic partnership deal with online designer marketplace Farfetch that will focus on deploying the latter’s operating system within the confines of Chanel’s physical boutiques, according to industry news source Business of Fashion.
The deal does not allow for the online sale of Chanel’s ready-to-wear or handbags on the Farfetch platform, however, as the storied firm continues to resist making its core offerings part of its digital ones. The terms of the transaction were undisclosed.
“We are not starting to sell Chanel on the Farfetch marketplace — I want to be very clear on that,” explained Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president of fashion. “Our position on eCommerce is the same. We want to connect our customers with our product and our boutiques are the best way to do so. We are very consistent in our strategy, but we are using Farfetch’s know-how to accelerate this.”
Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves further clarified the partnership, noting it was in line with his brand’s core mission to revolutionize not just eCommerce, but also the physical store experience with what it calls augmented retail.
“The mission of Farfetch is to reinvent the luxury shopping experience online as well as offline,” said Neves. “Fashion cannot be digitized like music. The physical experience is going to continue to be where the majority of the action takes place.”
Luxury eCommerce is a growing concern. The portion of luxury goods purchased online rose to approximately 8 percent in the last year, though that figure is expected to hit a ceiling of 20 percent by the year 2025. For the near future, that means an overwhelming amount of luxury commerce will continue to take place in brick-and-mortar stores and not online.
In addition, though they will be profound, the advances to come will take some time to be fully implemented, according to Pavlovsky.
“When you are in a long-term partnership, it won’t take place one day to another,” he explained. “We are talking about a transformation. Imagine a customer can book an appointment through WeChat or Whatsapp and say they would like to come at two o’clock to see in the fitting room this silhouette or this bag or this shoe. If we want to enrich the customer experience, we have to think about a range of services like that. We need to have a relevant dialogue between the boutique and the customer.”