PPR has just partnered with luxury ecommerce site Yoox.com, to launch a new online platform--PPR will own 51%, Yoox 49%--that will sell the conglomerate's brands Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Sergio Rossi internationally.
The decision to do so is part of CEO Francois Henri Pinault's push to get all of PPR's brands doing ecommerce in the best way possible, which he explains to Business of Fashion's Imran Amed in a new interview.
Like maybe zero other top execs at luxury conglomerates, Pinault is a "self-described technology geek" writes Amed. In addition to having over 260,000 followers on social curation site The Fancy, he's integrating digital into the company in a big way (as all companies should), with a whole business division dedicated to it, to which he is directly linked. He's even instituted a "digital academy" training program for everyone involved. They're making e-commerce a top priority, hence the Yoox venture. Pinault explains:
The idea was to build a new business division at the group level, linked to me, to have a 360 degree vision of the digital world. The team here is more about sharing experiences and making sure that the basics of e-commerce are fulfilled for every brand, whatever the size. We are benchmarking all the sites against the best practices in the world and we also have consumers testing our brands and using the sites.
But [because of] differences in terms of the prioritisation of digital – Gucci is much more advanced than Sergio Rossi for instance – we decided to go one step further to make sure that the first step, the e-commerce part of the digital strategy, is completely fulfilled with best-in-class practices on all our sites.
Pinault chose to partner with Yoox so that they could "use the same platform and the same technology, best-in-class functionality, brand by brand, without waiting." While the technology will be the same for all brands, inventory, pricing and design decided on by each brand individually to maintain brand identity.
He harps almost obsessively about ensuring his brands have the "the best-in-class functionality on e-commerce," "even for my small brands" and translating the luxury experience to online. In fact, he intends to have an ecommerce platform that's better than Amazon:
I think the best checkout process [online] would be Amazon.com, for sure. But, as a luxury brand, should we be compared with those guys? We cannot stop there. The vision has to be much beyond this in terms of re-creating the differentiation of a luxury brand online.
He even proposes, for determining proper fit, "a network of professional tailors that come to your home, based on an appointment online to do the alteration for you." Can't think of anything more luxurious than that.
The model reminds us a bit of Modewalk, a relatively new luxury e-commerce site that, in addition to selling high-end luxury pieces, facilitates couture appointments within non-Paris locations.
Is Pinault the most tech-savvy luxury CEO ever? Bernard Arnault better get an Instagram or something.