Relative Latecomer Among Global Luxury Brands
A long nine months after the debut of Gucci’s Chinese-language website, fellow Gucci Group-owned brand Bottega Veneta (previously on Jing Daily) has launched its own China-facing site. Designed to showcase the brand and its products while integrating with Chinese social media platforms and “offering a host of features designed exclusively for the Chinese market,” bottegaveneta.cn goes against the current trend among Chinese-enabled luxury brand sites, stopping short at offering e-commerce functionality.
Upon the website’s launch this week, Marco Bizzarri, president and CEO of Bottega Veneta, hinted that the site was long overdue. Said Bizzarri, “While Bottega Veneta has received a very positive response in China, our aim to engage as fully as possible, in as many ways as possible, with our current and future customers, is the same for China as it is everywhere.” Bizzarri added that the site is geared towards engaging with Chinese consumers in a “new and direct way.” But how does this translate to the actual site itself?
At the moment, the site — which is still new — mostly serves to showcase products and recent runway shows. With no e-commerce functionality — which is found on the site’s UK, US and Japan versions — the main features of Bottega Veneta’s Chinese-language website are are a collections page, brand introduction in the “World of Bottega Veneta” page, a store locator, wishlist and search bar. In terms of social media capabilities, viewers can share particular items via Sina Weibo or email. Otherwise — and in stark contrast to Burberry‘s Chinese-language site — Bottega Veneta’s is very much a work in progress. Localization appears to be at a minimum, with the majority of the site’s content coming from its global site. Images from runway shows and video features like the brand’s “Art of Collaboration” series should be interesting for Chinese visitors new to the brand, but offer little interactivity or social media engagement beyond the seemingly cursory Weibo “share” button. One feature that does indicate that Bottega Veneta’s site isn’t simply a flashy placeholder is the wishlist, which lets visitors save and share products they particularly enjoy with friends via Weibo or email. Integrated with the Store Locator page, viewers can locate their closest store and directly contact the location once they’re ready to purchase items on their lists.
As Bottega Veneta Creative Director Tomas Maier said this week, “We have a wonderful relationship with our customers in China, and this new website allows us to further engage with them in an online environment that is a true reflection of the brand.” This may be true, but Bottega Veneta could do well to learn from the example of popular, feature-packed and highly interactive Chinese-language company sites like those of Audi, Burberry, and BMW if it really wants to figure out how to engage with Chinese shoppers.