The Kering-owned French luxury and fashion brand Saint Laurent is stepping up its e-commerce efforts in China to sell products on a new online platform launched jointly by British luxury e-tailer Farfetch with e-commerce giant JD.com, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The endorsement by the internationally prominent fashion label represents a milestone for the newly formed strategic partnership between JD.com and Farfetch (JD.com recently took a $397-million stake in Farfetch) in which each entity will draw on the other’s strengths to further capture the heat of China’s e-commerce industry.
Saint Laurent’s CEO, Francesca Bellettini, told the WSJ that the presence of Farfetch has helped mitigate the brand’s worries over the counterfeiting issue, which is one of the predominant concerns of foreign luxury labels selling on China’s e-commerce platforms.
Rivals of the fashion label including Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Gucci have avoided the country’s e-commerce service providers by setting up their own online stores. However, Bellettini said the brand’s collaboration with Farfetch would mitigate concerns about counterfeiting and “guarantee to our clients secured purchases in addition to a very efficient service.”
Meanwhile, it seems to be necessary for Saint Laurent to expand its online presence in China in order to grow its popularity among Chinese consumers. The brand currently only has 18 stores in China, with the majority of them located in first-tier cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing.
The decision not to further invest in offline properties was, according to Bellettini, a hedge against the “risk of over-expansion.” Online e-commerce is the best bet for the brand to serve the needs of consumers in non-core cities.
“We will be able to deliver to these locations,” she said, “without a physical store.”
JD’s advanced domestic logistics service will also benefit Saint Laurent. The brand has pledged to offer the same-day delivery in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. And making the service even more appealing to brands such as Saint Laurent, delivery time in those cities is expected to be cut to 90 minutes by October.
Currently, Saint Laurent is owning a flagship store on JD.com.