Right after its initial public offering in the U.S. Nasdaq Global Markets, China's leading luxury e-tailer Secoo Holding has signed an exclusive partnership with European Confederation of the Footwear Industry (CEC), the official representative body of the European footwear industry, to enrich its premium shoe offerings on the site. The Brussels-based CEC is the parent organization for the footwear industry in Europe, representing around 87 percent of footwear production in the region.
The new deal allows Secoo to directly sell a great number of luxury and premium footwear brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Tod's, and Sergio Rossi from more than ten European nations including Italy, France and Britain to its 15 million online customers.
The move signals Secoo’s ambition to recruit more Made-In-Europe high-end labels to diversify their current offering as the competition in the country's luxury e-commerce industry has heightened due to the emergence of top players like Alibaba and JD.
One highlight of the partnership, according to the announcement, is that Secoo will help European premium footwear brands customize and personalize their offerings for Chinese affluent consumers. Personalization will be the growth engine for the high-end e-commerce market in the future, said Secoo's CEO Eric Chan, during an earlier interview with Chinese media. The e-tailer is capable of utilizing customer data that they collect from existing consumers to help brands localize their China strategy and personalize their offerings.
In July 2017, Italian luxury group Tod’s, which was about to work with Secoo, initiated a global campaign called My Gommino. The campaign invited customers to redesign Tod’s classic Gommino loafer with their preferred colours, kinds of leather, and stitching.
The partnership, on the other hand, represents a golden opportunity for lesser-known European footwear brands to be introduced to a new group of Chinese shoppers, the younger generation. This younger generation, the millennial consumer whose purchasing power vastly differs from their predecessors, prefers creative and niche labels, instead of the established big names. By partnering with CEC, Secoo's portfolio of lesser-known European brands is poised to reach this new audience in China.
"There are a lot of quality shoemakers in Europe, but they may not have the resources to enter into overseas markets such as China where we all recognize the growth of business there,” said Cleto Sagripanti, President of CEC, when commenting on his confidence about the prospect of the new partnership.
“Secoo will be a perfect solution for our members who can access to Chinese premium customers effectively while their intellectual property is well protected.”
This high-profile and exclusive partnership with CEC will also likely act as an effective endorsement for Secoo to persuade more luxury and fashion brands to work with the site, further highlighting its image as a domestic luxury e-commerce giant that differs from Alibaba and JD, which are for a mass market.
Similarly, China's second-largest e-commerce website, JD, joined the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) earlier this year, with a goal of introducing more American fashion labels to the Chinese market.