MILAN — Corneliani is banking on online distribution for its debut in the U.S. direct-to-consumer arena.
The Italian luxury men’s wear company today will launch its first-ever online store in the region, which will enable customers across the U.S. to directly purchase from the Corneliani offering, including ready-to-wear, footwear, leather goods and selected pieces from the brand’s Archive Collection.
Developed with Italian e-commerce specialist Alkemy, the launch of the U.S. e-commerce initiative follows last January’s debut of the brand’s online stores in Europe and Russia.
“I think that companies can no longer ignore the importance of integrating the brick-and-mortar and online [channels],” said Corneliani chief executive officer Paolo Roviera. “I believe that the distribution channels should be managed in a holistic way. If the physical store is the hub where a brand’s values and creative ideas come to life, e-commerce is its window in the digital world.”
For these reasons, Roviera considered e-commerce as the best solution to start directly entering the U.S. market, where Corneliani doesn’t operate any stores. “The U.S. is a challenging market, mostly because it is so vast,” Roviera said.
In order to meet the needs and habits of American customers, the site will offer a premium delivery service and a 14-day return policy.
Even if Corneliani doesn’t operate a physical flagship in the U.S., the brand is carried in some of the best retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and top-end specialty stores. All told, there are some 90 points of sale in the U.S.
Asked about the online store’s performance in Europe so far, Roviera said he was satisfied with the overall results. “It’s meeting our expectations, even if it still accounts for a bit over 1 percent of the company’s total business,” he commented. “It’s still actually the smallest of our stores. However, the potential is huge.”
According to Roviera, the next step for Corneliani’s digital commerce strategy will be the Asian market.
“In Asia, the C2C economy is becoming bigger and bigger. It’s a completely different approach than in the Western world,” Roviera said. “We are starting to work with local partners to create collaborations with the most important online players, such as WeChat.”
In June 2016, the luxury Italian men’s brand sold a majority stake to Investcorp, the Bahrain-based investment group, in a deal estimated at around $100 million.