Last week, Gucci took a big tech-savvy step: the brand launched its e-commerce site in China. Now, shoppers in China have the ability to purchase Gucci’s full range of fashion, accessories, and jewelry from its online store. The revamped e-commerce site is smartphone user–friendly and engaging, focusing on product storytelling and exciting visuals. Gucci.cn also offers convenient payment options through Alipay and WeChat! So how big of a deal is this step, and how does it fit into other digital trends we’ve discussed before? PurseBop takes a look below…
Before last week, Gucci had an official website in China, but there were no purchasing options on the platform. Gucci has had online shopping in other countries, though. The brand first launched its content and commerce website, headed by creative director Alessandro Michele, in 2015—but only in North America, Europe, the UAE, and Australia. Despite such widespread internet presence, this recent step is particularly important because Gucci relies heavily on sales in China: according to Bloomberg, Gucci witnessed its fastest growth in two decades in the first quarter of this year, which the brand partly attributed to a recovery in Chinese luxury spending.
In today’s world, it’s certainly hard for fashion houses to survive without a healthy digital presence. The majority of shoppers consult the internet as their first resource when making buying decisions. The digital market is undeniably important and is something that brands have to focus on in order to stay relevant with new demographics of shoppers. (Read: Luxury in the Age of Millennials) And, in fact, Gucci is already a leader in the technological world of fashion. This past December, Gucci finished off with the highest “Digital IQ” of any luxury brand, which takes into account a brand’s e-commerce efforts, search visibility, social-media engagement, and mobile aptitude. By now, a move toward technology seems to be the general course of things: a luxury house starts in a brick-and-mortar store, is perhaps available online selectively through department stores, and—finally—launches an e-commerce store. (Read: Fendi Brings E-Commerce to the US!)
However, e-commerce isn’t a positive thing 100% of the time! Indeed, bag styles had a lot more longevity before the internet. Shoppers often feel bored by new handbags quickly because of overexposure and oversaturation, which are only exacerbated by the internet and social media campaigns. Many times, bags have already made the rounds on Instagram before they are even available for purchase in boutiques or in online stores! (Read: Internet Causes Brand Fatigue for Handbag Companies) Ultimately, there has to be a balance, and we hope that Gucci will be able to maintain that balance throughout their success…
Other brands that traditionally have stayed away from e-commerce are apparently reconsidering. Chanel, for example, has tentatively put an e-boutique in their long-term plans. And many brands are willing to sell through Amazon Prime Wardrobe. Ultimately, it’s very clear that the internet is the primary means through which consumers are shopping, even for exclusive brands. In order to stay relevant, luxury fashion houses are realizing that they have to make decisions to follow suit and find a balance with their beloved brick-and-mortar stores. Gucci is just riding right in the middle of this trend…
What are your thoughts? Do you feel somewhat nostalgic for traditional boutiques, or are you happy that online shopping makes the whole process easier? Do you wish that brands would go back to focusing on brick-and-mortar stores, or do you believe e-commerce is the inevitable way of the modern world? Let us know on BopTalk!
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Fendi Brings E-Commerce to the US!