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Tag Heuer has a new store: an online homage to its freestanding stores that mimics its “lifestyle lounge,” but for the first time, it also allows consumers to buy from anywhere in the U.S.
This story first appeared in the February 25, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The site at shop.tagheuer.com in the U.S. is currently the only e-commerce-enabled site for the brand, which is part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. There are eight freestanding boutiques in the U.S., and the company considers its online showcase its “ninth store.”
Ulrich Wohn, president and chief executive officer in North America of LVMH Watch & Jewelry, who is also president and ceo of Tag Heuer North America, said, “We wanted to give consumers lots of choices, whether buying from their preferred local jeweler or directly from us. The main thing is they get an authentic piece that’s not altered or counterfeit.”
Wohn said the existing tagheuer.com site is just an informational feed. The new e-commerce site can be accessed on its own or through a tab option on the original site. Besides timepieces, apparel and accessories such as sunglasses are also available online.
So why the U.S. first? Aside from North America being one of the largest consumer markets, Wohn said the U.S. provides good information on the direct channel. The site was built in tandem with the head office in Switzerland, with an eye toward taking information gleaned from the U.S. to evaluate e-commerce channels and strategies for the brand overseas.
“The crux with selling online is how inventory is regulated….If an item can be delivered within a day, you can show it on your site. If an item is out-of-stock or not available, it can’t be shown on the site. Consumers want convenience. We follow the same rules [for our site that we have] for our retail partners as well,” Wohn said.
The e-commerce site provides pull-down menus and tabs that offer various ways to narrow down a search. Navigation can be by material, gender, timepiece size, collection or even leather or steel attachments. The site is also information-rich, with technical specifications as well as the history behind a timepiece.
“The U.S. e-commerce site took us the better part of the year to develop,” the ceo said. “The trick for us, like opening a store, was that we were not in a hurry to do it. We wanted to try to get it right, and that means putting ourselves in the consumers’ shoes when we are online, looking at what frustrates us and what delights us.”