JOOR’s Digital Wholesale Model Eyes China Market

    As the leading digital platform for luxury wholesale management, JOOR processes over $1.5 billion in wholesale transactions monthly.
    As the leading digital platform for luxury wholesale management, JOOR processes over $1.5 billion in wholesale transactions monthly. Photo: Courtesy of JOOR

    “This is a rocket ship,” CEO Kristin Savilia told Jing Daily on her business, JOOR, in the aftermath of the pandemic. Indeed, that rocket ship was on high fuel when brands and retailers sought to make digital connections as the outbreak of COVID-19 left the world locked down, events on hold, and business closed. What JOOR offered — a digital platform for brands and retailers to connect seamlessly — met the surging demand for companies to maintain connections.

    Founded in 2010, JOOR is the leading digital platform for wholesale management, processing over 1.5 billion in wholesale transactions every month. It currently works with over 13,000 brands, offering them the access to create virtual showrooms that can then be viewed by the more than 350,000 curated retailers in 150 countries using the platform today.

    Moreover, exclusive partnerships have been struck with over 30 leading global retailers including Printemps, Matchesfashion, Neiman Marcus, and Dover Street Market.

    When these retailers access the platform they can see curated showrooms from over 75 percent of the world’s luxury brands who now use the platform, including LVMH, Kering, Richemont, Capri Holdings and more. So while JOOR was ahead of the game in terms of facilitating a B2B digital connection, it could not have anticipated just how much demand would soar from 2020.

    JOOR allows brands and retailers to shop virtual showrooms globally with a single sign on. Photo: Courtesy of JOOR
    JOOR allows brands and retailers to shop virtual showrooms globally with a single sign on. Photo: Courtesy of JOOR

    “From an acceleration standpoint our new business grew 225 percent in 12 months,” Savilia explained on a zoom call from New York. “We had clients banging down our doors to digitize as it became the only way to do business when you can’t travel and you can’t go to a showroom.” A former buyer at Macy’s, Savilia was personally aware of the pain of paper trails, and now has JOOR transforming the buying process — not only phasing out the “antiquated process” but making edits tighter too by allowing buyers to easily visually merchandise their assortment.

    Quite early on in the pandemic, the US-headquartered business not only solidified this chief offering but also introduced JOOR Passport — an aggregated platform for worldwide trade shows and leading fashion weeks that allows brands and retailers to use JOOR to shop virtual showrooms globally with a single sign on. “In March 2020, when the trade show industry and fashion weeks had honestly come to a stand-still, I remember I called a meeting and said to my team we need to come up with a solution that will be able to make trade shows digital by June.”

    The team did just that. The new product has already hosted 285,000 retail visitors from 150 countries, more than 4,100 brands have participated, selling over 870,000 items. More importantly, this injected the physical into the digital, thereby prioritizing the importance of human connections often easily overlooked in the online sphere. As Savilia explained, there is absolute power in going to physical events when we can, but we should be also incorporating them with digital components.

    For example, at the recent womenswear marketplace Cabana, JOOR created unique QR codes for every label, scannable at their booth and linked to the brand’s virtual assortment. Again, as opposed to keeping track of items on paper, this offered users the ability to ‘heart,’ compare, and save selections in their own digital showroom. It had 830 downloads in two days, illustrating how seamlessly tech is integrated into physical events. According to The State of Fashion 2021, this hybrid model is predicted to remain beyond the aftermath of COVID-19 and 89 percent of fashion executives think it will be the new normal.

    Recognizing that the last mile of the transaction was a pain point for many brands, JOOR Payments was launched in early 2020 to foster seamless online bulk invoicing and in-platform payment processing. According to in-house data, brands using it have seen invoice to payment times reduce from three months to three days.

    JOOR CEO, Kristin Savilia. Photo: Courtesy of JOOR
    JOOR CEO, Kristin Savilia. Photo: Courtesy of JOOR

    As well as easing logistic issues, less waste and reduction of carbon footprint are now of increasing importance to the industry and in line with the company’s digital solution. Its operational model means that designers save further costs due to reduced travel. With increased sustainability now a business pillar, JOOR breaks the dependency on sampling and showroom costs, providing a more ethical blueprint to follow.

    Furthermore, at a time when certain markets and designers are still cut off, JOOR is navigating this new normal with a focus on the China market — still physically inaccessible for most of the world until at least 2022. With this in mind, the company has been on a mission to connect its designers to global retailers and to help international brands continue market expansion in the mainland. Opening an office in Shanghai, in July 2021, makes it the first platform of its kind to establish a business presence in Greater China. In addition to the company’s existing presence in Japan and Australia, this new office provides local customer support across the Asia-Pacific region.

    Moreover, the company is dedicated to working both ways when it comes to China. Alongside introducing global names to its retailers shopping on the platform, including Lane Crawford, it is also on a mission to make Chinese designers available to the west. Newest signee, avant-garde menswear designer and London Fashion Week participant Xander Zhou joins Ontimeshow — Asia's largest fashion trade fair, where JOOR has powered the virtual component — and local superstar Li-Ning.

    A champion gymnast, Ning founded his label in 1990 to provide Chinese athletes with a national brand to wear on the world stage of the Olympics. Almost 30 years later, it is the mainland’s premier sportswear name. On the platform for a year, the trendy brand is already seeing ROI from the partnership.

    As Savilia stated, China is digitally ahead and “you’re always learning” from other companies there. The accomplished CEO also notes that where China is ahead is in the adoption of fintech, and that fact is inspiring the company to expedite that process and expand offerings in the space. Currently it uses Stripe for processing digital payments in the US and Europe, and is in discussion with undisclosed local companies to process payments and transactions in the country.

    With that partnership soon to be announced, Savilia is clear that China lies at the heart of its business strategy: “Our goal is even more APAC expansion, continuing to help local designers extend their reach outside of China and supporting existing global customers expand their reach in the country too.”

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