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Chanel Makes E-commerce Debut with Net-a-Porter

The e-tailer's tech team build an entire application from scratch to support it.
The Coco Crush collection. Photo: Net-a-Porter

The Coco Crush collection. Photo: Net-a-Porter

In late March, Chanel's president of fashion, Bruno Pavolovsky, told WWD that the the luxury brand would finally be launching e-commerce, possibly before the end of 2016. As it turns out, the company is actually testing the e-commerce waters as soon as next week.

Rather than debut e-commerce on its own website, Chanel has partnered with Net-a-Porter to sell a small collection of jewelry, dubbed Coco Crush, which includes five rings and a cuff in 18-karat white and yellow gold. It will be the first time Chanel has sold anything other than beauty products online.

Of course, Chanel isn't just selling some inventory and hoping for the best. Not only has the brand (unsurprisingly) partnered with the web's most high-end shopping destination to do it, but it's also gotten Net-a-Porter to create a first-of-its-kind "digital pop-up" specifically for Coco Crush. We're told it's going to be "an entirely bespoke Coco Crush world" with 360-degree photography that allows shoppers to zoom in, expand, "play about" and examine the product as they would in real life. It will also adapt to any desktop, tablet or mobile device. With Chanel's input, Net-a-Porter's tech team build the entire application from scratch.

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It makes a lot of sense that Chanel, which has long eschewed e-commerce in favor of keeping tight control around how and where its products are sold, would only give into online retail on the condition that it be done in a very special, customized and controlled way. No wonder the company might spend over a year preparing to launch e-commerce on its own website.

Browse the Coco Crush collection, available to shop from Wednesday, April 15 on, below. Prices range from $2,150 to $20,500.