Why Luxury Brand Christian Lacroix Launched an Online Marketplace
Luxury brands have been reticent in the past to sell their products online, fearing they will lose the appeal of the high-end in-store shopping experience that's unique to their category. However, as the behaviors and demographics of luxury customers change, brands are starting to re-evaluate their decisions about selling online. One such brand is Christian Lacroix. In late 2017, the luxury fashion brand decided to launch an online marketplace to sell direct to consumers. Working with marketplace platform provider Mirakl, Christian Lacroix is now selling menswear, women's accessories and its lifestyle collection on christian-lacroix.com.
In this interview with Nicolas Topiol, CEO, Christian Lacroix, he discusses the brand's decision to sell direct to consumer, the challenges of being a branded manufacturer that's now selling online, and more.
Total Retail: Why has Christian Lacroix made the decision to start selling direct to consumer online?
Nicolas Topiol: The celebration of the House of Christian LACROIX’s 30th anniversary was the perfect opportunity to launch our e-commerce initiative. It provides the platform to express and embrace the brand’s heritage, to showcase our creations, and to cross boundaries. Looking at the next 30 years in the life of the House of Christian Lacroix, the opportunity to establish a worldwide direct-to-consumer platform will provide us with the ability to bring the House into the future.
The 30th anniversary exclusive collection, created in collaboration with New York-based multimedia artist Brian Kenny, provides an engaging way to launch our e-commerce platform with a vibrant and limited collection only available on our website and in select concept stores — Ron Robinson in Santa Monica, Calif. and L’Exception in Paris.
Going forward, Maison Christian Lacroix will integrate into its digital platform the collections developed in its main products categories; the world of interior design, gifts, women's accessories and menswear fashion collections.
TR: What are the challenges being a branded manufacturer selling online? And how does the brand plan to overcome them?
NT: The main challenges come from the customer experience. How to bring online the experience that customers have been historically experiencing mostly in physical locations for luxury products.
In addition to best-in-class website functionalities, the experience should also come from the quality of the images, the product copy and the experience of the final customer throughout the buying process to the opening of the box.
TR: Why was Mirakl's brand platform the right choice for Christian Lacroix?
NT: It's the right choice for us as we needed to aggregate various distribution and shipping points to be sold on our worldwide e-commerce platform. Mirakl’s technology provides the perfect tool for us to execute that strategy while having the ability to integrate front-end operations, logistics and payment solutions, which are essential to the success of the project.
TR: What are the business benefits that Christian Lacroix hopes to realize from selling its products online?
NT: There are three main benefits. The first is to connect directly with our customers worldwide and to know them better, the second is brand visibility, and the third is to build on our existing physical distribution to reach new customers in parts of the world where the brand might be less active. I might add obviously that the ongoing access to transactional data will, over time, become very important.
TR: What has the customer feedback been to the decision?
NT: So far very good, as we're already selling all over the world only after a few days!
TR: How are you planning to market the fact that consumers can now make purchases on christian-lacroix.com?
NT: We've started and will be using various branding and marketing tools, from our own social networks, influencers and bloggers more for branding, and digital marketing such as banners and AdWords for traffic acquisition. From there, our job is to offer a well-organized, desirable and large selection of products.
TR: What advice would you have for other brands that are considering selling direct to consumer online?
NT: Forget about usual prejudice about selling online and jump into the digital world.
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