VIPstore is China's answer to Gilt and other flash sale sites
Having already built up a respectable presence in the Chinese retail market, with around 15 locations in the mainland and four in Hong Kong, BCBGMAXAZRIA is now looking to jump on the e-commerce bandwagon. Following on the heels of the premium French footwear and accessories brand Bally, which recently announced an exclusive China partnership with the Italian online retailer Yoox, this week BCBG inked its own partnership agreement with VIPstore.com (佳品网), a flash-sale site that bills itself as "China's largest high-end fashion online retail platform."
Under the agreement, VIPstore will be the exclusive online agent in China for all of the brands under the BCBG name, which include Max Azria and the youth-focused BCBGeneration.
According to recent projections, online retail sales in China are expected to reach 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion) within the next two years. With China's luxury market booming, naturally a growing number of international high-end brands have looked to tap this new but important market, with Armani and Bally teaming up with Yoox to host Chinese-language online shops and brands like Diane Von Furstenberg expressing an interest in getting involved with this realm in coming years. Premium domestic Chinese brands are also looking to get in on the game, with Alibaba recently launching its AliExpress Premier channel, which sells a hand-picked selection of home-grown labels.
BCBG's partnership with VIPstore will center mainly on cooperative promotional and sales events, but relies heavily on the aforementioned flash-sale model, popularized by Gilt and others, that's so popular on Chinese e-commerce platforms at the moment. This model, China.com suggests, could work in BCBG's favor, as the kind of buying frenzy that brands see when they take part in online flash sales is extremely rare at traditional brick-and-mortar locations.
So will BCBG's move to the world of Chinese e-commerce, flash sales specifically, pay off at its physical locations throughout the country? Or will potential customers simply wait for the brand to show up on VIPstore at discounted prices, rather than shop locally? Will BCBG's greater accessibility hurt its perception among the lucrative middle-class market as a premium brand? These are some of the questions that we have at the moment, and we're looking forward to seeing how BCBG's partnership with VIPstore will pan out in the months ahead.