Luxury conglomerate Kering, home to Gucci, Saint Laurent and other high end houses, is to bring its e-commerce capabilities in-house marking a move away from its long-standing partnership with the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group.
As part of a wider digital strategy across stores. mobile and online, the Paris-based group said it would be transitioning its e-commerce activities in-house in the first half of 2020. It acknowledged the success it had achieved in partnership with YNAP, which is now under the full ownership of rival luxury group Richemont.
“Coordinated efforts and shared expertise with YNAP have enabled Kering Houses to enhance the level of service of their e-commerce websites. Most of them now offer services such as check availability, reserve in-store, make store appointment, pick-up in-store, return in-store, exchange in-store, and buy online in-store,” Kering said in a statement.
The group added that it would continue to forge partnerships with third-party websites where appropriate. YNAP currently operates online flagship stores for Kering brands including Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Pomellato, Brioni and Saint Laurent.
Kering said the decision to shake-up its digital offer came after the appointment of Grégory Boutté as Chief Client and Digital Officer in December of last year. Boutté’s brief covers e-commerce, CRM, data science and innovation for the group. E-commerce is the fastest growing channel for all Kering’s luxury houses and represented 6% of the group’s total retail sales for the first half of 2018.
“Digital can be many different things at once – a distribution channel; a platform for offering seamless omni-channel services to clients; a driver of brand image and visibility; and a tool for engaging with customers in a personalized way. Digital technology, data science and innovation provide a way of offering our customers the best possible experience – on every touchpoint,” said Boutté.
Other initiatives announced include:
- – a suite of apps in partnership with Apple to be used by Houses staff in-store, the first of which is a store experience app that enables sales associates in-store to access stock levels in real time to provide their customers with a fully personalized service
- – a new approach to customer service with centralized teams in Europe and the US focused on addressing customers’ requests. Gucci, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta have dedicated teams, while other brands grouped their efforts under a single customer service unit, operated by Kering on their behalf
- – several pilot projects using data science techniques to deliver personalized messages and experiences to customers, based on their profile and purchasing history.
- – the creation of a data science team at group level to improve the service provided to the clients of Kering’s Houses by making the best use of the available data
“These exciting new initiatives have been designed to meet – and exceed – the needs of our Houses’ customers and to ensure we continue to offer them an exceptional experience across all channels in a fast-changing global market. These opportunities have been made possible by the experience and know-how that Kering has gained over the years, notably through its successful joint venture with YNAP. We will continue to work with them post-transition and to enjoy a fruitful relationship,” Boutté said.